The East Central Intergovernmental Association is a council of governments, formed in 1974 with the goal of developing regional solutions for local governments facing similar problems. ECIA is an evolving organization, continuously creating new programs and initiatives.
Starting in 2016, ECIA began partnering with and was awarded its first technical assistance grant through the University of Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) where masters students in pertinent fields of study work with communities to implement important community projects. One key project was a land bank feasibility study that was later drafted into legislation. The Iowa Senate introduced the land bank bill in January 2020. The IISC partnership has been valuable in assisting communities with community visioning and planning, community enhancement, feasibility studies, and more. In total, nine projects have been completed.
In 2017, ECIA assumed management of the Homeless Program. The focus is on safe and affordable housing first and then provides supports to maintain housing followed by increased opportunities for better health, integration into the community, access to benefits and services, and economic stability.
Also in 2017, ECIA helped establish Keep Iowa Beautiful groups in Clinton and Dubuque Counties. This program provides for a community coach, to help groups plan and implement recreational, beautification, and other types of community projects. Clinton County has their own coach for the communities and ECIA coaches Dubuque County communities
Most recently in 2019, ECIA launched a nuisance abatement program, to help communities address their citizen’s nuisance properties.