Council approves agreement with U of I

University of Iowa students will soon be helping Webster City with everything from parks planning to creating downtown murals.

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved an agreement with the university in Iowa City to make that possible.

The agreement puts Webster City into the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities program.

As a result, both undergraduate and graduate students in a wide variety of disciplines will be working on projects for the city, including:

• Parks and recreation master planning

• Downtown revitalization studies

• Library digital archiving

• English to Spanish document translation

• Short films about Webster City

• Branding and marketing

• Downtown murals

“This will help us move forward with a lot of ideas that we had,” Mayor John Hawkins said. ”We will have a lot more minds working on projects.”

The agreement approved Monday marks the first time that the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities program has focused on one community, according to City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez.

He said the assistance of the students will help to ”really flesh these projects out and move these projects forward.”

The students, he said, will gain real-world experience.

Students working on the projects will be making regular visits to Webster City and may stay overnight on occasion.

The program is not free to the city.

The city will pay $1,000 for each project conducted over the course of one semester. It will pay $1,500 for each project that’s conducted over the course of an academic year. For public art installations, the city will pay $2,500.

The agreement requires the city to pay the university a minimum of $15,000.

Lindsay Henderson, the city’s community vitality director, told the council that the fees will help to cover the travel and lodging costs for the students.

The agreement is in effect through June 1, 2019.

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