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Marshalltown Central Business District names new director

The Marshalltown Central Business District has named Deb Millizer as its new director effective Monday. She will replace Jenny Etter in this position. Etter will assume duties as Business Disaster Recovery Coordinator the same day.

Both Millizer and Etter will work from the MCBD office located in the City Centre Building.

Region 6 Resource Partners and the Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) have been awarded a $140,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fund business disaster recovery efforts in Marshalltown.

“Etter is formally employed with Region 6, but it is a partnership position between Region 6 and MCBD. Both organizations are sharing some of the costs as well as the benefits of what we hope will be accomplished,” Region 6 Planning Director Julie Winter said.

The devastation to the downtown caused by the July 2018 tornado has been a large area of focus for the two agencies.

MCBD Board President Nate McCormick said Jenny Etter had discussed “The current situation in downtown Marshalltown is one of tremendous opportunity. We were looking for a candidate with strong leadership and communication skills to help rebuild the downtown community and communicate that opportunity to both current and potential building and business owners. Deb’s demonstrated professional and leadership qualities, technological savviness and growth-focused attitude are an excellent fit for this position,” said Nate McCormick, MCBD board president.

Millizer, who is from State Center, previously served as program supervisor at Lutheran Services in Iowa, based in its Marshalltown office, for seven years. She is in the process of obtaining a master’s level degree in organizational leadership from Buena Vista University. She has an undergrad degree from that school in psychology and human services and organizational leadership.

“When I saw this position come open I knew I wanted to be able to have the opportunity to meet with downtown businesses and form relationships,” Millizer said.

She said she is thrilled to work with business professionals, owners and volunteers from the downtown businesses, historic buildings and local organizations. Millizer’s job duties will include leadership for MCBD initiatives and programs, coordinating volunteer efforts and partnerships with community organizations, providing accountability for MCBD goals and targets and nurturing collaboration and communication with downtown building and business owners.

“We’re excited to bring on Deb as executive director and while still having the support of Jenny and Region 6 in bringing all the recovery plans to fruition,” McCormick said. “The challenge brought by this disaster is more than any one organization can take on, but with our partners, members and community we are confident that Marshalltown will emerge stronger than ever. These changes and partnerships put MCBD in a great strategic position to help downtown Marshalltown become the place to play, stay, shop and eat in our community.”

Millizer has been actively involved with Elim Lutheran Church and the House of Compassion. She has provided respite care for Iowa Family Services since 2017, and has been dedicated to foster and adoption care of children. She previously served as a reserve officer for three years for the State Center Police Department.

Etter took on the role of MCBD director in 2012. In a previous interview with the T-R, she said her plan after retiring as MCBD director was always to remain living and working in downtown Marshalltown.

The business disaster recovery coordinator position has been jointly funded by a donation from the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation and a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Economic Adjustment Assistance Program.

The MCBD, founded in 2002, is a non-profit. It seeks to restore, preserve and grow downtown Marshalltown.

Region 6 Resource Partners is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1974 to provide member communities with professional services in the areas of comprehensive planning, access to federal and state transportation funding, housing assistance, public transit services, grant writing and administration.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or

sjordan@timesrepublican.com