The city of Decorah is announcing the launch of the “Build A Better Decorah” Initiative in order to engage the Decorah Community in a visioning process that will inform the creation of a new Decorah Sustainability Plan.
The plan will outline measurable goals and strategies to keep Decorah thriving well into the future even in the face of uncertain environmental, social and economic pressures.
"Our aim with this initiative and the subsequent sustainability plan is to save money through efficiency and innovation, while improving the quality of life for the citizens of Decorah,” said Decorah City Manager Chad Bird.

The Build A Better Decorah Initiative is being spearheaded by the Decorah Sustainability Committee, a nine-member team appointed by the mayor to write a new sustainability plan for Decorah.
Both Council member Ross Hadley and Steve Luse are appointed to serve on the committee.
“I had a chance to participate in the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference in Dubuque last fall, with Steve Luse. We were able to see how saving money with efficiencies can directly translate into deeper investments back into the community. We learned that communities who do this well, do it collaboratively,” Hadley said.

The Build A Better Decorah Initiative is a 4-stage process that kicks-off with visioning sessions involving key stakeholders including both city employees and local businesses.
In addition, several open community conversations will be held in early June. For those unable to attend one of these meetings, there will be a feedback form available on the city of Decorah’s website for comment after the June meetings.
Following the city-wide meetings, the city will put together eight task groups focused on key areas in the sustainability plan including: solid waste, water and air, transportation, energy, economic development, land use, communication and outreach (education), health and human services.
The task groups will use the information provided by the community meetings to develop goals and strategies for accomplishing the vision.

City planning
Following the work of the task groups, the city of Decorah Sustainability Committee (DSC) will conduct a city-wide survey to assess the priorities for the city moving forward. Combining all of this information, the DSC will build a sustainability plan to complement the city’s Comprehensive Plan and to set targeted outcomes for the next five years of city planning.
“There has been a lot of interest within the Decorah community on how we can bring interest groups together around shared values so that we can formulate a common vision that will inform the decisions we make as a community. We are looking forward to the work of the Sustainability Committee as they initiate this foundational work. Sustainability is more than just recycling and turning off lights when not needed, sustainability is about saving people money and creating a healthy and thriving community for today and tomorrow,” said Mayor Lorraine Borowski.
For more information on the work of the city of Decorah Sustainability Committee, or if you are interested in getting involved further in this process and/or serving on one of the task groups, email