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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 5, 2010

UI, community leaders discuss neighborhood-university partnerships Jan. 14

University of Iowa graduate students in urban and regional planning recently developed plans to revitalize Iowa City's Miller-Orchard neighborhood with beautification, housing rehabilitation, commercial development and public safety initiatives.

UI and city leaders will discuss the project and other potential town-gown partnerships at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14 in Room A of the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. The 90-minute program, "Neighborhood-University Partnerships: Miller-Orchard and Beyond," is presented by the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the graduate college and the City of Iowa City. It will be followed by a public reception at the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St.

The students found that Miller-Orchard is a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood running along Benton Street in western Iowa City, but housing deterioration, traffic congestion, unfriendly pedestrian routes and crime have had an impact. The neighborhood has struggled to establish an identity within the greater Iowa City community, and the plan intends to accomplish just that.

According to the students' report, Miller-Orchard is well suited for revival thanks to its diverse housing stock, elementary school, park, commercial resources and dedicated residents. For more information on the plan, visit

The project will be discussed as a launching point to brainstorm other collaborative efforts that could benefit the community and the university.

Presenters include Marcia Bollinger, neighborhood services coordinator for the City of Iowa City, and Charles Connerly, director of the graduate program in urban and regional planning. Their remarks will be followed by a panel discussion and an opportunity for questions and suggestions. Joining the presenters for the panel discussion will be Therese McKenzie, event coordinator for the Grant Wood Neighborhood Association, and Carolyn Colvin, associate professor of teaching and learning in the UI College of Education.

The program is organized by the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy, co-directed by Ken Brown, associate professor of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business, and Teresa Mangum, associate professor of English in the college of liberal arts and sciences. In its fourth year, the institute provides theoretical and practical training for graduate students committed to combining their academic interests with civic engagement.

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies provides an environment and resources for reflection and writing and for the exchange of ideas. Scholars from a broad range of disciplines and institutions interact with one another and with the public to create and communicate new knowledge and to establish a vibrant intellectual community. For more information on the Graduate Institute for Public Engagement, call 319-335-4034 or visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,