• Iowa City Chamber, ICAD decide against merger

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    August 22, 2018

    The Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce and Iowa City Area Development Group will continue operating as separate organizations rather than pursue a merger.

    The organizations will instead collaborate on developing and implementing a long-term vision for the economic vitality of the community, according to a report issued Tuesday.

    That relationship will include more formally aligning operations and reducing duplicative efforts.

    “We spent the spring talking to chamber members, ICAD investors from the communities that we serve and business leaders,” said Mark Nolte, ICAD president and CEO. “We found that there seems to be an underpinning of concern that maybe we don’t have a vision as a community. That came through loud and clear in the research.”

    Kim Casko, president and CEO of the Iowa City Area Chamber, said the same concern was shared by the organizations’ peers in the industry.

    “Other chambers and economic development groups are playing bigger and bigger roles in community development efforts,” Casko said. “We touch a lot of different entities, so that power of bringing a lot of different folks together to work toward a longer-term holistic vision is the most important thing we can do.”

    What they learned during the six-month evaluation process, Casko and Nolte said, was that workforce, education, affordable housing, transportation and maintaining the existing quality of life in the community are their customers’ greatest needs and concerns.

    While merging was an option the chamber and ICAD considered, Casko and Nolte said the organizations have opted not to take that step at this time.

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