Clinton Economic Development Plan

Clinton Economic Development team meets in Clinton, Iowa
Academic Year 
Urban & Regional Planning

As part of their capstone project, second-year graduate students from the School of Urban & Regional Planning will create an economic development plan for the City of Clinton and surrounding micropolitan area.

A Des Moines register article in March 2017 put a spotlight on the economic challenges facing the City of Clinton and other micropolitan areas throughout the state.  The article describes a drastically changing economic landscape in Clinton, where the manufacturing sector has declined as the primary economic engine, followed by dwindling job opportunities, working-age residents, retail activity, and social capital. 

Recent economic trends are compelling community leaders to evaluate new directions for the community and shift the emphasis away from industrial business recruitment.  STEM initiatives, entrepreneurial development, tourism, and quality of life strategies are mentioned as opportunities to build and retain a skilled workforce for a new economy. 

Pending the outcome of an ECIA grant application to the Economic Development Administration (EDA), students will work collaboratively with dedicated staff and private consultants to create a comprehensive Economic Development Plan for the Clinton micropolitan area. 

An economic development plan provides a comprehensive overview of the economy, sets policy direction for economic growth, and identifies strategies, programs, and projects to improve the economy.

Initial conversations with Clinton community leaders generated the following list of key components to be addressed in the Economic Development plan:

  • Downtown redevelopment/revitalization
  • Entrepreneurship- including maker spaces and office hubs with shared services
  • Attracting and retaining young professionals and workers
  • Best practices for business attraction, expansion, and retention (including retail)
  • Incentives and funding mechanisms, such as a small business revolving loan fund
  • Analysis of Zoning relative to development activities and opportunities 
  • Quality of Life strategies for attracting and maintaining skilled workers

Public input will be an essential component of the planning process.  The process may include interviews, focus groups, public forums, and/or a survey of residents.  Key stakeholders include business leaders, elected officials, developers, lenders, service providers, and more.