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CITY NOTES: Conference should yield ideas on Charles City concerns

Just a quick note this week as I am on my way to the Iowa Rural Development Summit as I write this column.

City Administrator Steve Diers, former Mayor Jim Erb, Area Development Director Tim Fox and I will be spending Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Grinnell with representatives of other rural communities from around the state.

Several of the topics to be covered at the summit are areas of relevance to what we are experiencing in Charles City.

CITY NOTES: Conference should yield ideas on Charles City concerns
Dean Andrews

Wednesday afternoon’s session is a total focus on housing development in rural Iowa. Where the big emphasis used to be on attracting jobs to your community, the push now is providing housing for those wanting to come to your community for work.

Whether that housing be mid-priced or higher end, the cost of construction has surpassed the ability of people to afford new homes without some type of incentive. Hopefully the forum will at least give us examples of how this may have been accomplished in other areas.

The summit also has sessions on high-speed broadband, rural child care and sustaining and recruiting rural retail. These are all areas of concern and emphasis in Charles City.

Once again, as we work on these issues, it will be interesting to see what can and is being done elsewhere.

The session ends with the program, “Telling the Rural Story – Getting the Word Out!” I think this will be a fitting end to the summit.

I have always said that if we can “tell our story” about the advantages of living in Charles City, while still being able to visit nearby metropolitan areas such as Des Moines and Minneapolis, we are able to have the best of both worlds.

Hopefully the conference will provide us with thoughts and ideas of how we can continue to improve our assets and build our story of Charles City being an attractive home for families of all ages.