Iowa City coalition plans COVID-19 recovery initiative

Mark Nolte

By CBJ News Staff

Project Better Together, an initiative to help the Iowa City area community recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, was announced today by the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Iowa City Area Development Group, Think Iowa City and the Iowa City Downtown District.

The partnering organizations also announced the formation of a community-wide network and the appointment of a project director, Mark Nolte, to guide the effort.

The Better Together Network includes a coalition of leaders from the cities of Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty, along with Johnson County and the University of Iowa. It also includes leaders from the four partner organizations, all three hospitals, the school district, area nonprofits, social services, private business, and elected officials from all levels of government.

“The Project Better Together Network was developed out of a standing monthly roundtable that has been in place for the last 10 years to share information and support each other on community and economic development activities.” said Josh Schamberger, president of Think Iowa City. “As the COVID pandemic began to impact our community we quickly realized the power of these relationships and the necessity for even stronger collaboration.To that end, we have worked alongside this longstanding group to expand and more formalize a community-wide network to guide this Project Better Together initiative.”

The project aims to transform the community with greater economic diversity, growth, inclusivity, resilience and well-being for all through both short-term targeted actions and long-term, forward-thinking solutions that lead to a renewed economy.

Mr. Nolte is the former president and CEO of the Iowa City Area Development Group.

“While Project Better Together will need to address some very immediate and dire needs, it is also meant to go a step beyond recovery,” added Kim Casko, president and CEO of the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, in a news release. “It is about coming out better and stronger on the other side of this. I can’t think of anyone better to help us lead this effort than Mark Nolte. He has served our community for decades and has the knowledge and connections to hit the ground running, which is what we need right now.”

For additional information, go to CBJ