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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, manager,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

10-19-04

Contacts:

Kurt Thurmaier, Political Science, (515) 294-7207

Rick Morse, Political Science, (515) 294-2780

Dave Gieseke, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, (515) 294-7742

Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986

Local officials in Boone, Poweshiek counties team with Iowa State University researchers to study shared services for their communities

AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa Innovations Fund has awarded Boone and Poweshiek counties a $63,850 grant to work with Iowa State University's public policy and administration program faculty to explore how the area communities can share local services.

"The Olive Tree Project: Helping Citizens Define Their Communities" is directed by Rick Morse, assistant professor of political science. Morse said Iowa State researchers will work with county and city officials to identify common community values and services essential to preserving each area's unique identity.

"This process will provide a basis for communities to explore options for collaboration in the delivery of public services, as well as regional approaches to community and economic development," said Kurt Thurmaier, professor of political science and director of the public policy and administration program.

The research team and members of Iowa State's Extension Service will hold a series of public community forums. The researchers also will conduct surveys, analyze data and hold countywide meetings with service providers and stakeholders to find opportunities for collaboration.

The project's title is derived from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's bestselling book on globalization, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree." The olive tree is a metaphor for a community's "roots, sense of place and belonging to a family," Morse said.

The pilot project will continue through spring 2005.

Other organizations involved with the project are the Iowa State Association of Counties, the Iowa League of Cities and the Iowa State University Community Vitality Center.

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Quick look

The Iowa Innovations Fund has awarded Boone and Poweshiek counties a $63,850 grant to work with Iowa State University's public policy and administration program faculty to explore how the area communities can share local services. Researchers with the "The Olive Tree Project: Helping Citizens Define Their Communities" will work with county and city officials to identify common community values and services essential to preserving each area's unique identity.

Quote

"This process will provide a basis for communities to explore options for collaboration in the delivery of public services, as well as regional approaches to community and economic development."

Kurt Thurmaier