Delmar Community Vision Plan

In a report to the Delmar Economic Development Group, a graduate student in the School of Urban & Regional Planning completed an independent project that provides recommendations and identifies resources that help achieve a community-driven vision for the City of Delmar.

In the spring of 2017, graduate students from the University of Iowa’s School of Urban and Regional Planning worked with the Delmar community to engage local residents through the process of storytelling. The graduate students worked with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from the Delwood Community School District to develop interview questions about the community and its most important characteristics. The Delwood students then interviewed long-time Delmar residents, while the graduate students recorded the conversations. The interviews focused on the storytellers’ favorite memories, the ways that the community has changed over time, and the elements they would like to see preserved in the future.

The interviews were followed by a bookmaking workshop with the Delwood students. Based on their conversations with the storytellers as well as their own creative ideas, the students created accordion books telling the story of the past, present, and future of Delmar.

To build on the success of the Delmar Storytelling Project, one of the participants from the University of Iowa reengaged the community in the spring of 2018. The goal was to include all of the community’s residents in an engagement process seeking ideas for projects, events, and an overall vision for the future of the city. With the goal of engaging as many residents as possible, the planning student sought to provide unique opportunities for participation aside from the traditional public meeting. They established a telephone number, coined the Delmar Vision Hotline, which allowed residents to leave voicemails with their responses. Additionally, an online survey provided the opportunity to share written responses. Both platforms urged participants to think about and respond to the following questions:

  1. What do you love about this community? What is currently happening here that you are excited about?
  2. What would change to make Delmar better?
  3. What is your wish for this community? What do you hope Delmar looks like in 20 years?

Based on responses from residents, the student provided recommendations and identified funding resources for specific community development projects identified through the public outreach process.