Manchester, Iowa

Placemaking Action Plan

The City of Manchester, Iowa has teamed up with McClure to address local challenges and build a practical action plan through Creative Placemaking, a people-centered approach to building strong, vibrant communities.

The goal of this process was to help Manchester achieve economic and population growth through cultural and entrepreneurial amenities, concepts, and catalytic projects.

While countless rural communities across the country face similar challenges, what sets Manchester apart is the eagerness to find innovative solutions and take action to shape the future of the city, attract and retain top talent, and improve the overall quality of life.

The process was divided into three phases: Community Visioning, Capacity Assessment, and an Action Plan. Public input and guidance from a local steering committee of volunteers represented an essential component of the process.

Priority projects in the Manchester Placemaking Action Plan emerged from the full breadth of stakeholder engagement, Steering Committee feedback, and McClure Placemaking’s assessment of the most impactful opportunities to enhance Manchester’s competitiveness as a destination for talent.

The following projects will carry on the legacy of the Manchester Good to Great initiative and volunteer work teams by again uniting the community behind a series of transformative efforts to continue Manchester’s momentum into the next decade.

The Placemaking Action Plan projects are listed below in priority order as determined by a vote of the Steering Committee.

This is a flexible, fluid plan. Project recommendations represent a starting point for Manchester stakeholders to implement priorities that will enhance their destination appeal, but projects and tactics are not etched in stone. They will evolve as the community evolves during the strategic implementation period.

Community Visioning

It’s critical that the projects that comprise a community’s placemaking priorities are community driven opposed to “top-down” efforts. To ensure Manchester’s Placemaking Action Plan resonated with the community and has the necessary support and momentum to be implemented, McClure engaged local stakeholders in a variety of ways. These included:

Steering Committee Meetings

A group of Manchester’s most influential public and private leaders helped guide our process. They participated in discussions about the city’s competitive issues, challenges, and opportunities and helped shape the Action Plan by reviewing and discussing proposed projects and tactics.

Two Community Visioning Sessions

Promotion for these open-invitation meetings came from media stories, social media, and direct outreach to citizens and constituency groups. One was held in the afternoon and another in the morning to ensure that residents had options that worked best for their schedules. Dozens of Manchester stakeholders participated in the visioning sessions and weighed in on topics related to the community’s challenges, opportunities, unique qualities, and desired amenities.

Focus Groups

Facilitated discussions were held with large employers, marketing professionals, and the project’s Steering Committee. Feedback from these groups helped clarify and confirm input received from the visioning sessions and other stakeholder outreach.

One-on-One Interviews

Over 25 one-on-one interviews were held in person and over the phone over the many months of the process. These interviews gave McClure the opportunity to get the perspectives of key community leaders on issues and challenges and helped confirm and hone the final Action Plan project priorities.

Community Survey

A survey was available for all Manchester stakeholders to participate in the visioning process and have their voices heard. Available online for a number of weeks, the survey garnered hundreds of responses and provided the McClure team with great perspective on the community and multiple ideas that were incorporated into the Action Plan.

A summary of issues and comments from the Manchester Visioning Sessions can be found in Appendix A.

The entirety of the stakeholder input along with a review of previous and ongoing strategic efforts helped inform the projects that emerged as priorities for Manchester’s Placemaking Action Plan.


Alison Kass Banker GNB Bank
Caitlyn Scherbring Co-Owner Brides & Weddings
Caryssa O’Connell Director Delaware County Tourism
Darcy Schiess Owner MiaJo Boutique
Dean Sherman City Councilmember City of Manchester
Donna Boss Executive Director Delaware County Economic Development
Dr. Kristen Rickey Superintendent West Delaware Schools
Holly Maurer Center Director NICC/UIU Manchester Center
Jade Hargrafen Director ISU Extension; Delaware County
Jeff Ogden Business Owner Oasis Well & Pump
Jessica Pape Executive Director Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce
Joe Camp Lead Pastor theStone Church
John Dolan Business Owner Dolan Insurance
Kyle Sands Co-Owner Franklin Street Brewing Co.
Matt Carpenter Executive Director Good Neighbor Society
Matt Weiss Athletic Director West Delaware Schools
Roger Lake Owner Lake Design & Décor
Steve Palmer Owner Palmer Hardware
Tania Bradley City Council member City of Manchester
Teresa Greve Broker F&M Iowa Realty
Tim Vick City Manager City of Manchester
Tony Monaghan Business Owner Monaghan Financial Services
Wes Schulte President Heartland Search Company
Manchester Visioning Graphic

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