Don DeWaard is seeking the office of Mayor of Pella. Originally from northern Iowa, he has spent the past 40 years here.
DeWaard moved to Pella in January 1979 to attend Central College, where he not only earned an accounting degree, but spent 35 years as an assistant football coach (1980-2015). He worked at a CPA firm, where he partnered with Jeff Van Maanen for 12 years before got into real estate development.
He was a non-traditional student at Central, as he came in with a wife and two children. For four years prior to his freshman year, he had farmed. Today, he has four children and six grandchildren, all raised here. He has an appreciation for the community.
DeWaard has not run for office before, but what he would like to do is continue to improve the community in areas in which it is possible. There are many different viewpoints regarding the Community Center, and he wants to respect each one. What he learned as a coach is that you either get better or go in the other direction, and he wants to bring that philosophy to the City government.
“I really like the art and theater aspect,” DeWaard said of the Community Center. He also likes that it is downtown. Because the needs are separate for both sports purposes and art purposes, he believes a solution is a second facility.
“I’d really like to see that building dedicated to theater,” he said.
Over the years, he has been involved in various projects that were partnerships among various groups. He believes that works well.
He needs more information regarding the controversy on Big Rock Park to make a definitive statement about whether or not disc golf belongs there. He believes the idea should have been discussed before the process began to have an mutual understanding.
“I think it’s possible to have both (nature and disc golf),” he said.
Facilities will be a challenge for the next council, as there is still a great deal of old infrastructure in town. Keeping up with streets, being prepared for unexpected disasters all require planning. He wants the City to continue to be proactive when protecting its assets, while not standing in the way of private progress.
The Mayor’s Office is all about leadership and having a vision as a community. He wants to be a progressive mayor, and not one who reacts to situations that are presented.
“I think I can provide that leadership,” DeWaard said.