Waterloo Mayor reflects on first term - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo Mayor reflects on first term

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Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart hopes to continue transforming the city in his second term through both economic development and revamping Waterloo's image.

"I am excited about having a second term," said Mayor Quentin Hart. "You know I love the city of Waterloo. I was born and raised here."

Mayor Hart ran unopposed in his second term, but he says that will not slow him down. Hart hopes to carry the theme of his first term into his next two years. 

"The theme was 'Believe Waterloo,'" said Mayor Hart. "And that's the fact that we have so many great things taking place in the city. And it's starting to transcend to every part of the community. Seeing that we're having economic development in every part of our community, seeing the trend in crime moving downwards, and looking at trying to change the overall image of Waterloo. There are amazing things that are happening here."

Hart pointed to economic development in the Walnut neighborhood, the sale of the Convention Center, and construction on nearly every corner as to his successes in his first term. 

"Jobs, getting people employed, summer youth programs, but there's so many accomplishments in these first two years and the future is looking even brighter," said Mayor Hart. 

Hart says transforming the image of  downtown Waterloo has relied on a federal historic tax credit program that could be on the line. Mayor Hart says those tax credits have been instrumental in allowing developers to finance redevelopment in parts of the city that really need it. Congress could potentially get rid of the program. 

"We need those incentives, and we have a lot of work left to do and without those credits, it puts a huge blow into our future," said Mayor Hart. 

As he moves forward, Mayor Hart says there's been a learning curve in his first term.

"One is the communication piece and that's why we hired a Communications director," said Mayor Hart. "So that if there's information or things that need to change, or that the community needs to know about, you have access to that information. 

Hart says he's working to better communicate on both an administrative level and within the community. Currently, he's working on a program called "Project Pause."

"Its focused on police and community relations-specifically prevention and helping people understand the repercussions of their actions," said Mayor Hart. 

Mayor Hart says one of the highlights in his first term was Governor Branstad's Condition of the State, when he coined Waterloo as the "turn-around city."

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