WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Port Authority Reinventing Itself

Jul 1, 2014

A first-of-its-kind organization in Iowa is trying to reinvent itself.

The Southeast Iowa Regional Economic and Port Authority became the first port authority in Iowa in 2006.  Its members are Fort Madison, Keokuk, and Lee County.

Chairman Bob Winkler said the authority can do a lot of good for the region, but he is worried that stretches of inactivity have taken a toll.

"It’s always been my concern that if you were to ask five people what the port authority does, one would say 'what port authority?,'" said Winkler, "And the other four would give you four different answers.”

Winkler said a reboot of the authority’s image will start with a website, which is being developed by the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission.

It will list the capabilities of the authority, such as borrowing money and owning property, and a new mission statement for the organization.

Winkler said the new online presence will eventually reach into social media platforms.

He said the authority will also do a better job of talking to potential partners in economic development, government and financing.