Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - After a national search, the City of Rochester has announced its new Community Development Director.

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Irene C. Woodward will take over the role that was previously held by Cindy Steinhauser, who now serves as one of the two Deputy City Administrators for the City. Woodward, who most recently worked as the Director of Planning & Zoning for the City of Allentown, PA, will join the City of Rochester as the Community Development Director on July 18th.

Irene C. Woodward - Photo from City of Rochester
Irene C. Woodward - Photo from City of Rochester

Woodward has over 15 years of experience as a City planning professional and is specialized in affordable housing, grant writing, management, and strategic planning, according to a news release from the City.

“The City of Rochester is excited to welcome Ms. Woodward to the organization. A lot of meaningful work has been done since the Community Development Department was created in 2018. The department is fortunate to have a great team and Ms. Woodward is poised to continue to build on a strong foundation,” shared Deputy City Administrator Cindy Steinhauser. “Her extensive background and expertise will serve our community and organization well.”

The City said the Community Development Director plays a vital role in positively influencing the future direction of Rochester while collaborating with Public Works and City Administration to achieve the vision "to be recognized as America's most innovative development services team."

The Director is also responsible for developing, directing, and providing ongoing leadership to the community development department, which encompasses heritage preservation and urban design; land use planning policies and regulations; the efficient processing; development agreement; distribution of federal block grant funding and issuance of development permits; and compliance with housing and building standards, plan checking, inspection and correction of hazards.

“Planning impacts a community in many ways, from history and design to funding and implementation,” Woodward said. “I can already feel the city’s strong foundation and I am excited to build on that. I’m excited to join this team.”

Woodward holds a Master’s in City Planning with a concentration in community and economic development from the University of Pennsylvania and AICP Certification from the American Institute of City Planners.

The City said there will be opportunities for members of the community, business and industry sectors to meet Woodward in the future.

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