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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

About those Chicago billboards

The Iowa Department of Economic Development has been advertising Iowa, as a place to live, in Chicago since the 1980s.

The department ran an ad on billboards along I-294, I-90, I-290 and I-94 in May, June and July of 2007. Those are all, of course, major interstates that can have apoplexy-inducing traffic.

Here’s the ad:

This advertisement ran on billboards along interstates in Chicago in 2007.

This advertisement ran on billboards along interstates in Chicago in 2007.

The Iowa Department of Economic Development calls this “workforce recruitment,” an effort to reach University of Iowa graduates or native Iowans living in Chicago, get them to come back and raise their families here.

It’s really a far cry from the local myth that Iowa has been running Section 8 ads in south Chicago for years, but as Steve Rackis, the guy who oversees Section 8 in Iowa City, points out, everyone drives on the interstate, and everyone likes the idea of a safe, quiet place with good schools and no traffic.

So certainly, some low-income black people have seen these ads and responded by moving to Iowa. I spoke with a such a family earlier this week.

More on this later. The Section 8 story continues to evolve. Would love to keep getting your thoughts.

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Filed under: Cedar Rapids City Council, Iowa City, Public Safety

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