- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa students and faculty are working with Mason City officials on a number of projects designed to improve services and increase quality of life in the area.

The Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/1RZCopF ) reports that the partnership between the city and the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities for the 2016 to 2017 academic year was announced last week.

The initiative works with students, faculty and staff across multiple colleges and departments to work on community engagement projects by addressing problems and challenges identified by the community.

“The IISC is thrilled to be partnering with Mason City,” said Nick Benson, director of the initiative. “The city proposed challenging, substantive projects that provide University of Iowa faculty and students with the opportunity to work alongside our community partners and make a real difference in Mason City and north central Iowa.”

The 10 to 12 projects that will be completed could include making Mason City a more bicycle-friendly community, collecting and analyzing city bus system data to better serve citizens and enhancing downtown areas with murals and other artwork.

Steven Van Steenhuyse, director of the city’s development services department, said that each project will be about $1,000.

“It’s kind of exciting because we have an opportunity to do some innovative projects and do them very cost-effectively,” Van Steenhuyse said.

Mason City was one of two communities selected to partner with the university program, which is currently completed two-year partnerships in Decorah/Winneshiek County, Iowa City and Sioux City.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/


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