CEDAR FALLS — A planner with years of experience in Iowa City and Portland, Ore., is the city’s new planning and community services manager.
Karen Howard, who has worked 17 years with the city of Iowa City as an associate planner, was named to the post to succeed Bob Seymour, who recently accepted a position with Community Bank & Trust after 28 years with the city. Prior to her service in Iowa City, she worked several years for the city of Portland.
“It was a move up and I feel like Iowa City and Cedar Falls are similar communities, both of them being college towns, both with similar issues,” said Howard, who grew up on a farm near West Union and Elkader in Northeast Iowa. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics, worked in Portland and moved back to Iowa to be closer to family.
Cedar Falls is looking at updating some of its zoning codes, as did Iowa City and Portland, she said. She’s also looking forward to doing economic development work, as Seymour did. “I have a degree in economics and so I’m interested in the economy of communities.” She noted Iowa City has revitalized an area along the Iowa River near downtown.
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“I’ve been so impressed by the diversity of businesses in downtown Cedar Falls,” Howard said.
Howard is the second Iowa City official in less than a year to be hired by the city of Cedar Falls. Jon Resler was hired as Cedar Falls city engineer in September. He was previously Iowa City’s superintendent of streets and traffic engineering.
City Administrator Ron Gaines, with Cedar Falls since 2006 and city administrator since 2016, also previously worked in Iowa City.