Former Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton recounts time serving on the city council in new memoir

Throgmorton says his background in urban planning helped him best serve the Iowa City community in his memoir.


Isabella Cervantes

Jim Throgmorton, a former Iowa City Mayor, poses for a portrait in the Pedestrian Mall on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Throgmorton recently published a memoir about his time on the council.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

Jim Throgmorton’s background in urban planning came in handy when he was serving as Iowa City’s mayor.

Throgmorton recounts his time as a former mayor in his new memoir, Co-Crafting the Just City: Tales from the Field by a Planning Scholar Turned Mayor.

Starting his career on the City Council in the 1990s for two years and then returning in 2011, he concluded his time serving on the council as mayor in 2019.

Throgmorton attributes his success on the City Council to his background in urban planning. He has a doctorate degree in urban and regional planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.

“I have considerable experience in processing large amounts of data,” Throgmorton said. “My background was very helpful is that I had a great deal of practical and scholarly experience having to do with any issues pertaining to the natural environment.”

Throgmorton splits up his book in accordance with his time on council, with the second chapter focusing specifically on his first two years on council and projects he was involved in.

“That chapter focuses attention on mainly four topics, one of which has to do with a project we call the Gateway Project, which involves the elevation of North Dubuque Street and the construction of the Park Road Bridge, both flood mitigation projects,” he said.

Another topic Throgmorton addresses in his book is Iowa City Community School District’s facilities management plan.

“The school district’s desire to adopt a facilities management plan that would involve the construction of new K-12 schools, but also modification of existing schools,” he said.

Charlie Eastham, a member of the Iowa City Community School District Board of Directors, said Throgmorton helped efforts to begin the rezoning of the Forest View mobile home park in addition to the facilities management plan.

“His work on supporting the Forest View neighborhood relocation efforts have a major impact upon the students in the forest view neighborhood,” Eastham said.

Eastham said the biggest impact Throgmorton had on the council was his work for the Forest View mobile home park.

Eastham worked with Throgmorton from the beginning of his career on the City Council as a fellow advocate for social justice, housing issues, and other topics.

“I am really impressed by his work, his writing, and his willingness to put down in detail and extensively the issues that he was trying to deal with as mayor and as a land use planning scholar,” he said.

Throgmorton said he wants his memoir to give Iowa City an inside look at what goes into serving on the City Council.

“I would hope that any reader, including our current council members and Mayor, would be able to read the book and come to their own conclusions,” he said.

Throgmorton was on the council at the same time as current Councilor Pauline Taylor, who said she admired him very much.

“He was a good leader, a good role model…I think he was an asset to the council and a good leader for us while we were on the council with him,” Taylor said.

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