Rock Island names Brainard to economic development post

Miles Brainard shed the “interim” part of his Rock Island job title this week when he was promoted as the city’s new community and economic development director.  

Mr. Brainard, who began his career with the city in June 2017 as an urban planner, has been working his way up the ranks of the department. Two years later, he was named planning and redevelopment administrator. Then in September 2021, he was appointed interim community and economic development director overseeing a department that includes the Inspections, Planning, Community Development, and Economic Development divisions.

Prior to joining Rock Island, Mr. Brainard worked as a planner for the Mid-Iowa Development Association (MIDAS) Council of Governments in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, Ames, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in community and regional planning with a minor in sociology.

As the interim director, Mr. Brainard has overseen the development of a variety of programs and projects within the department. Most recently, he worked with Moline and East Moline city leaders on a potential regional Land Bank, continued the community needs assessment in west end Rock Island, and participated in the sale of surplus city-owned vacant lots.

As director, he helps oversee the city’s Planning Commission, Arts Commission, Beautification Commission, Preservation Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. He also serves as the staff representative on the Rock Island Downtown Steering Committee, is a member of both the Heartland Sustainability Network and the American Planning Association, and serves on River Action’s RiverWay Steering Committee. 

“Miles has been a great asset to the City of Rock Island,” Interim City Manager John Gripp said in an announcement on the city’s website. “His dedication and commitment to the community shine through in his work. I look forward to Miles leading our Community Economic & Development Department team.” 

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