Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission (SEIRPC) Executive Director Mike Norris says the organization has come a long way over the last four decades.
The commission, which was formed in 1973, features a membership that includes Lee, Des Moines, Henry & Louisa Counties along with cities and towns within their borders.
Norris says initially, the commission's primary function was to secure federal funding for its members.
He says the duties have expended, over the years, to include the management of revolving loan funds, the oversight of transit services and the working with local businesses and industries.
"As an organization, we have changed in response to changing conditions," says Norris, "but I think those core values of regional collaboration and providing regional staff more efficiently than individual entities could, those remain the same."
Norris says the impact of the SEIRPC can be seen in projects like the Flint River Trail through Des Moines County and the Santa Fe Depot restoration in Fort Madison.
"There is a nitch that we fill in the region," says Norris," both with our local governments, with businesses, with other entities we partner with, and that is a good thing."
There are 18 regional planning commissions in Iowa.
Norris, who has been with the SEIRPC for ten years, says it has gotten more difficult, over the years, to work with the federal government due to the documentation requirements.
“Moving forward, it is a matter of going back to our core principles of good planning, good project preparation and good execution to deal with all of these rules," says Norris.
He says in the next 5-15 years, the commission must look to strengthen its communications and relationships.