Where does Creston see itself in 5, 10 or 20 years? That is what members of Southern Iowa Council of Governments want to know.
Instead of a “If you build it, they will come” approach, Jeremy Rounds, regional planner at SICOG is hosting a series of planning sessions for those already living in the area to gain feedback from residents, business owners, city officials, and anyone else who may have a vested interest in the quality of life Creston has to offer.
“The goal is to gain public ideas and thoughts about various issues related to the future of Creston,” said Rounds. “Those ideas will be incorporated into a comprehensive plan that will address future land use development for the city.”
Rounds facilitated discussions on July 30 and Aug. 19 on housing and economic and business development, respectively.
Housing is, I think everyone agrees, a great need. We have a great shortage of housing, especially quality housing and a shortage of some affordable housing,” said Rounds. “The real issue ... is how, with limited public resources ... where do we start?”
Rounds said the city’s approach has typically been to eliminate dilapidated homes, which he agrees need to be addressed.
“But that doesn’t really solve the need for more housing. It just gets rid of some housing that’s a problem,” said Rounds.
Rounds said SICOGs goal is to continue to partner with the city and the Union County Development Association and find additional resources to add new housing to Creston’s stock, and continue to rehabilitate aging homes in need of improvement.
During its July 30 meeting, Rounds said the suggestions and concerns expressed we no surprise.
“If we’re going to be successful with housing, we are going to need to be creative,” said Rounds. “But the ideas were pretty much, we need to be doing more than we’re doing. There was quite a bit of consensus about that,” he said.
“They were more concerned than I realized that the gummy bear factory closed and that place hasn’t been reused for anything, and I was thinking that people would be more concerned about the workforce,” said Rounds.
“People were very adamant there’s a big shortage of what I’ll call skilled trades – plumbers roofers, electricians, welders,” said Rounds. “There was wide spread support that we need to come up with some sort of plan specifically for those types of workers to attract them, train them.”
Tonight, Rounds is asking the public to join him 7 p.m. tonight at the Creston Restored Depot meal site to offer their ideas about community infrastructure.
“(That is) everything we take for grated everyday: smooth streets, sidewalks, trails, functioning water and sewer systems, electrical systems ... all those things we build to support our basic quality of life,” he said.
This is important because we’re trying to help the city of Creston create a plan for the next 20 years and we want them to have a plan that makes sense and is something that can be done within the tax structure of the city ... the average person should care because they pay taxes and live here.
Upcoming planning sessions well be held at 7 p.m. at the Creston Restored Depot meal site:
• Tonight: community infrastructure
• Sept. 10: Community facilities and recreation
• Sept. 30: Land use, agriculture, natural resources and hazards
For more information, contact rounds at 641-782-8491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.