MUSCATINE, Iowa–In 2016, several friends from across Muscatine County started looking for ways they could get involved in the community and support causes they cared about. Over those years, the group’s president, Jessica Brackett, shared that they successfully led several events, including hosting art and gardening activities for children, holding educational events and a local candidates forum, and working to get National Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognized by the City of Muscatine in 2018. “Progress Muscatine started as an idea among friends,” she recalled: “we wanted to do something good together. Everyone brought ideas to the table and the group carried out a variety of projects over the past five years.”
This year, the members of Progress Muscatine decided to more formally organize themselves. They started the process of incorporating into a non-profit and created a board of directors, with Brackett of Muscatine as their president, Christine Moad of rural Nichols as their secretary, Linda Schmarje of Muscatine as their treasurer, and Dana Dominguez of West Liberty and Michael Salino-Hugg as additional board members. They also settled on an official mission statement for themselves; “the mission of Progress Muscatine is to empower Muscatine County residents to identify problems and work toward sustainable solutions for the common good.”
With these goals in mind, Progress Muscatine has started seeking community input on what future projects they should take on. They plan to use informal methods, such as calls, texts, and social media posts, as well as organized community conversations held via Zoom on Thursday, May 20 at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, May 26 at noon. Through these conversations, Brackett says Progress Muscatine will invite county residents to discuss issues they have identified and solutions they would like to pursue as well as future local energy production options. If you would like to participate in any of these Zoom conversations, Brackett encourages you to register by calling 563-261-2915, emailing [email protected], or messaging their Facebook Page. In the near future, Progress Muscatine will launch its own website as well.
From these conversations, the first of which took place May 11, Brackett says Progress Muscatine will identify projects both large and small, short term and long term, that they can undertake and that community members can join in with: “Our board members look forward to creating a space to talk about concerns, bridge divides, and identify solutions throughout Muscatine County. From neighborhood cleanup to systemic change, we believe solutions for the common good are at our fingertips.”