By Tim Nedoba
Coralville, IA – GoGuide Magazine continues our series of going one-on-one with local newsmakers. Of course, the Coralville PrideFest event was a question that we had to put before the Mayor. His answer to this question and other questions can be seen below.
Mayor John Lundell has been a resident of Coralville since 1980. He has a BS, MA, from the University of Iowa. His family includes his wife, Diana, and his children, Laura and Joseph. His special interests include woodworking, sports, and running.
Terms in Office
November 2003 – December 2005*
January 2006 – December 2009
January 2010 – December 2013
*Elected to complete the remainder of a term of a vacated Council seat
January 2014 – December 2015
January 2016 – December 2017
January 2018– December 2019
GoGuideMagazine.com goes one-on-one with Coralville Mayor John Lundell
GoGuide Magazine: Of course, I have to start with a COVID-19 question. How has this pandemic affected the City of Coralville?
Mayor Lundell: Coralville has successfully responded to several previous major disasters- primarily the massive floods of 1993 and 2008 as well as several damaging flash floods. So in the early stages of the pandemic we felt well prepared to follow what we learned from those experiences. We focused on trying to keep city services as normal as possible and to step-up our communications with residents and businesses. But as we all know now, addressing the pandemic was far different from other disasters we’ve weathered. In particular, the uncertainty surrounding COVID 19- treatment, transmission, prevention, longevity, etc. has made our response a challenging moving target. However I am proud of the efforts of the staff to continue to provide services in a safe, but altered fashion. For instance, we opened both our indoor and outdoor swimming pools unlike many other communities. The Recreation Department also provided a comprehensive summer camp for youngsters that provided important nutrition and exercise. The Library and Transit Departments provided services, albeit in a modified fashion. We even provided our highly recognized Fourth of July fireworks show in a safe drive-in fashion.
GoGuide Magazine: Has the COVID-19 pandemic caused long-term damage to the local business community? Is Coralville ready to rebound from this pandemic once we’re able to get this virus under control?
Mayor Lundell: It remains to be seen how much long term damage has been done to our business community. I am most worried about our many wonderful restaurants that are providing a much reduced carryout service. Those who have outside dining areas have been in a better position but with cold weather on the way they too will be challenged. Coralville has a large hospitality industry and all the hotels have experienced reduced bookings. Almost all scheduled conferences have been canceled and/or gone to a virtual platform. The loss of Iowa Hawkeye sporting events has had a huge impact on businesses. But my glass is always half-full and I am optimistic for a steady turn around in 2021.
GoGuide Magazine: What makes Coralville such an attractive place for people to live? The growth of Coralville is nothing more than astounding.
Mayor Lundell: Coralville has been very aggressive in our efforts to provide first class services and opportunities for our residents and businesses. We pride ourselves in our willingness to enter into partnerships that encourage the provision of first class businesses, facilities, and services. City leadership- elected officials and staff, share the same vision for growth of our community and strategically work to achieve it. A great example of this is the Iowa River Landing development. Back in the early 1980’s that area provided about as bad of a first impression as possible to visitors entering from Interstate 80. Through a community planning process the number one goal identified was to flip that area from the worst to the finest gateway. A vision was set and a strategic plan developed. While it has taken decades, the results are incredible. The recent opening of the Xtream Arena and GreenState Family Fieldhouse is a huge achievement and the post-pandemic impacts will be impressive. We want to create a community that leads to college students to stay here after graduation and for others of all ages to want to live here. Coralville is an exciting place to live and work!
GoGuide Magazine: As you know, LGBTQ+ community in Coralville has been working on a creating a fall Pride event for a couple of years now. The event was about to take place in 2020 but the pandemic made it impossible to safely hold a successful event. Planning for PrideFest on September 5, 2021 at Iowa River Landing is well under way as we talk now. Do you think the Coralville community will embrace a Pride Event?
Mayor Lundell: Absolutely! Coralville loves festivals- Winterfest, Fourth Fest, Fry Fest, Fifth Street Social, Brew Fest and therefore PrideFest will be a great addition. I feel that the Iowa River Landing vibe makes it the perfect location the event. I can’t wait to welcome the LGBTQ+ community and everyone else to what is sure to be a fun time that will only expand for years to come.
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