Natalie and her husband, Zach, moved to Newton in 2013. Natalie is involved with several community boards and committees, including Implementing Newton’s Future/Hometown Pride, the Centre for Arts and Artists, Chamber Ambassadors, and Young Professionals of Jasper County. Natalie recently completed the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and was a 2015 finalist for the Central Iowa YP of the Year Amy Jennings Impact Award.

Q: What do you think people should get to know about Newton?

A: The Valle Drive In Theater is one of my favorite ways to spend a summer evening. Anyone who hasn’t made it out for a double feature should check it out.

Q: What’s an upcoming project you are excited to work on?

A: I am currently coordinating with several non-profit arts organizations to bring Zachary Mannheimer of Iowa Business Growth into our community to conduct a Creative Placemaking Economic Assessment of Newton. This is the first step in a part of a process that will result in additional cultural amenities for our community and a strategy to interweaving the goals of our arts organizations with our economic development planning.

Q: What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?

A: I was part of the team that worked with Keep Iowa Beautiful to bring the Hometown Pride Program to Jasper County. This program has helped bring planning expertise and grant funding for community betterment projects not only in Newton, but also throughout the county. You can see its impact in some of the coolest projects happening right now, including the Newton Bouldering Course, the Colfax Quarry Park, trail development in Prairie City, and so much more.

Q: How is Newton preparing for the future?

A: In 2015, the City of Newton began partnering with Alliant Energy and Black Hills Energy to create a program focused on sustainability and reducing our community’s footprint. Since that program started, residential energy use has dropped by over 2% and we have been able to assist businesses and government organizations in making major energy investments. By adopting new technologies and changing our behaviors, we are working to become a more sustainable community and I think this is one of the most important ways we can prepare for the future.

Q: What is Newton’s best-kept secret?

A: The saganaki at Yanni’s Grill is awesome.