Ann Freerks touts experience and understanding of issues in Iowa City City Council bid

Ann Freerks hopes to improve housing affordability and transportation if elected in next week’s City Council special election.


Katina Zentz

City Council candidate Ann Freerks discusses issues in the Adler Journalism Building on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018.

Kate Pixley, News Reporter

Ann Freerks has spent the last 17 years serving Iowa City and hopes to continue her service on the City Council.

“I have a lot of experience bringing people to a consensus,” Freerks said. “I’ve acquired a lot of good listening skills. I understand how everything is interconnected after working with the community.”

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Before running for City Council, Freerks served on the Iowa City Planning & Zoning Commission, where she worked on the development of the Riverfront Crossings District. She currently works as a designer for the University of Iowa Strategic Communication Office.

Her volunteer work includes serving on the advisory board for “Any Given Child,” a program that seeks to connect children with arts programs and as PTA president for Longfellow Elementary School.

Freerks said her top platform issues include affordable housing and transportation.

If elected, she said, she hopes to bring affordable housing to all neighborhoods of Iowa City, not just those that are near downtown.

“Quality housing — it will start from the outside,” Freerks said. “Places will become a little less expensive the farther away [from downtown Iowa City] you are.”

She also wants to increase housing accessibility to those in the workforce who don’t necessarily qualify for affordable housing but still struggle to pay rent every month.

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She said she doesn’t want affordable housing to be limited to apartment complexes, either. Affordable duplexes, single-family homes, and smaller apartment buildings should be evenly dispersed throughout the city, she said.

Housing accessibility is closely related to economic development and transportation, Freerks said.

“Economic development is important,” she said. “The university is a huge job engine … but we can’t just have the university, we have to have other things as well.”

Freerks hopes to increase ease of transportation for workers in addition to potentially creating a regional bus pass. She noted that she would want to wait until the city’s transportation study is complete before outlining a plan.

“I think transportation on Sundays has actually been a big issue,” she said.

Freerks noted that the recent addition of a bus line between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City is a good start to fixing the city’s transportation woes.

She said she believes she would fit in with the council, because she has worked with city councilors many times during the course of her career.

“I know many of them, I respect everyone, and everyone’s got qualities that I admire,” she said. “I could bring something that’s missing on City Council.”

Freerks said that if elected, she would like to take a goal-based approach on the council.

“I’m an independent voter in the way that I look at things,” Freerks said. “I carefully assess everything, and the situation, and what is the best for the city. It’s not even about my vision, I’m just one of the tools to make things happen. I see it as me helping to fulfill those goals. If things aren’t goal-based, then things fall apart.”