HAWARDEN—Hawarden’s first community and economic development director Larry Cope announced his resignation at the May 12 city council meeting.
“My wife and I have come upon an opportunity that we’ve decided to pursue that will take us outside the community. I’ve tended my resignation to Mike just a few days ago and my last day physically here at the city will be May 24,” he said to the city council.
The 51-year-old said that his next job takes him into the private sector for the first time in 25 years.
One of the reasons for the job change is to be closer to family, he said, along with the opportunities the new job will bring.
He said that working in Hawarden has been a great opportunity.
“In a small town, it’s everyone working together,” Cope said, adding, “What I found when I came here is that everyone was working together to be able to make Hawarden a better place, a place where we all want to live and see grow.”
City administrator Mike DeBruin said the city will advertise the job opening immediately.
Cope began work with the city as community and economic development director June 3, 2019. He previously worked in Holton, KS.
Since he began, Cope has pursued numerous grants for the city, worked to beautify downtown Hawarden, worked alongside businesses through the coronavirus pandemic and become involved in the Hawarden Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Iowa Development.
“Larry brought a world of knowledge about economic development to Hawarden,” DeBruin said, adding, “We have seen accomplishments in Larry’s work and will see some still happening after he is gone. Larry has been a great resource for many of our new business startups like Roosters Midwest Steakhouse, the new coffee shop coming into the corner of 10th Street and Central Avenue, the relocation of People’s Bank and the relocation of Big Sioux Embroidery.
“Larry filled a big gap in what Hawarden needs: someone to assist our existing businesses, someone who is there to assist new startup businesses and someone who is researching new industry to come into our community.”