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The Hill High Point

College Hill Partnership Update

March 2022

As we draw close to the 2022 annual meeting, we thought we should send out an update of the past year.

In 2022 the College Hill Partnership has worked on many projects that align with our mission. “College Hill Partnership (CHP) is a non-profit organization that serves as the leader in revitalization and promotion of the College Hill area, an urban neighborhood community. The scope of its mission includes promoting healthy neighborhood businesses and housing enhancement; strengthening collaboration and pride; developing public/private partnerships; and serving as an advocate for addressing area concerns.”

To name a few, we have worked closely with city staff to ensure the word got out about the College Hill Vision Plan and the data that was collected from the public, including many of you. We hope that the Imagine Hill Vision Plan will lead to meaningful zoning code changes. These changes will allow the Hill to provide a wide range of housing options, including the missing middle housing Cedar Falls so desperately needs and growth in our business district to improve the economic vibrancy of the Hill. In addition to new housing and business opportunities, the upcoming zoning code changes will continue to value the historical nature of our neighborhood district and work to stabilize the mix of owner-occupied homes and rental homes in our neighborhood.

This year we have also welcomed many new members to our board, including Hannah Crisman, Frank Darrah, Sam Blatt, and Angela Johnson. We look forward to their continued involvement in the CHP and the elections at the annual meeting to include additional new board members.

Throughout the year, as always, we co-hosted several College Hill clean-ups. We worked collaboratively with Green Iowa Americorps, Threehouse Collaborative Miseries, UNI NOW, and the City of Cedar Falls to successfully clean the Hill. Clean-ups help us care for the Hill during the high traffic times, including the start and end of school and holidays like Halloween. In addition to clean-ups, the College Hill Partnership, with the help of an economic development grant from the City of Cedar Falls, can hire a very part-time staff member to help clean and care for the Hill. Trevor Smith has been a loyal employee doing his best to help us keep the Hill tidied and collaborates with our beautification committee to work to keep the Hill watered and weeded.

Cold but very successful clean-up

Over the last few months, the CHP has used several new committees to push forward some of the initiatives from the CHP Board. For example, our “Light Up College Hill” committee has been doing a lot of research to bring an iconic public light display to the Hill. We know the importance of placemaking for a cohesive district, and the CHP Board believes that lighting could be a natural step forward to creating a welcoming entertainment district.

Our Seerley Park commitee received the great news that the City of Cedar Falls has committed to a $300,000 project to revitalize and renew the park. This committee is committed to improving the park’s aesthetics, working towards better accessibility of the park, and ensuring the historical elements of the neighborhood and park are kept. The committee is looking forward to raising funds to improve the park soon.

Our communication committee jump started a new program called Saturdays in Seerley which the CHP hosted neighbors in Seerley Park for free coffee and breakfast sweets. As a result, we were able to bring neighbors together, have conversations about the neighborhood, talk with elected officials, and discuss potential park improvements.

Saturdays In Seerley

Some other highlights of 2021-2022 have been:

  • Adding new tables to Pettersen Plaza thanks to the Friends of Pettersen Plaza and the Community Betterment Grant awarded to the CHP by the Cedar Falls Tourism and Travel Bureau
  • The first Illuminate Light Festival co-hosted with Dana Potter’s University class
  • UNI Homecoming Window Painting
  • 2022 Named the Year of College Hill by Mayor Rob Green

We are looking forward to a great new 2022-2023 year, where we plan to host many more events and continue to work towards a more inviting and revitalized College Hill District. Some upcoming events include:

Other things to watch out for in 2022-2023:

  • Parking lot improvements in the College Hill Business District
  • Invitation to share your time, talents, and treasures to support Seerley Park Improvements
  • Announcement about the College Hill Arts Festival
  • Additional improvements to Pettersen Plaza

We hope you will join us soon at one of our events or join in the fun of service by giving your time and talents to one of our committees or fundraising efforts.

Flash from the Past: The Hill High Point

College Hill Partnership First Newsletter from 2009

Check out the the newsletter from 2009 with notes from the President, Dave Deibler, CHP Coordinator and UNI student Adam Bentley and more. 

“College Hill has changed dramatically since I first encountered it. People shop differently then they did back then. This has affected the businesses located on College and 23rd Streets and retail areas like it all around the country. On the residential side, increased student population has changed the face of neighborhoods through out the College Hill overlay. What will the next thirty five years bring? We cannot be sure, but I feel that it is full of promise. We have a unique opportunity, now more than ever, to shape what College Hill is and what it will become. I strongly believe that the Streetscape construction project mounted by the city of Cedar Falls is the start of a new era for all of us who live, work and play on the Hill.

So, how does the College Hill Partnership fit into all of this? Most importantly, I think, is the fact that we are the first organization to really try and manage and consider College Hill as a whole. Retail and residential as one. We are also locating grants and other funding opportunities that can benefit this area. The CHP is looking to sponsor and stage educational and artistic events through out College Hill (including Seerley Park and our new pocket park). We are working hard to improve communication between students, land lords, businesses, families and anyone having a presence on College Hill.” Dave Deibler, 2009.

2009 was also the year of the College Hill Streetscape. You will find details about the project in the Newsletter below.