April 22, 2021

A ‘better’ Creston

Crestland Betterment Foundation and Creston Image Enhancement Committee are two separate entities that both work toward making Creston a more appealing place to live and work.

CBF is a 501c3 and operates as a board. It has been responsible for several projects since its inception, including some of the walking trails in Creston and helping get the YMCA, now Southern Prairie Fitness Center, built.

The foundation does not have any current projects going and has not been meeting regularly due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it is still serving at least one of its functions as a pass-through organization for those raising funds for worthy projects.

The Rounds family is raising money to build a dog park in their daughter Lexi’s honor. CBF is collecting the funds — which allows donations to be tax deductible.

Chamber of Commerce executive director Ellen Gerharz said often organizations that provide this service take a percentage of the money raised in return. CBF does not. All of the money raised will go toward the project.

Image Enhancement

The Image Enhancement Committee is a part of the Chamber of Commerce. It also works towards making Creston a better and more beautiful place to live, work and visit.

The IEC is responsible for the flower pots in Uptown Creston as well as partnering with organizations such as CWC to hang flower baskets. It also runs the Gold Star Business and Hi-Five programs where citizens can nominate a business or person for an award.

These awards come in the form of a letter and/or certificate and a mention in the Chamber newsletter after residents have called or written to the chamber about a specific business that is adding to or maintaining its business in a such a way that the individuals felt especially welcomed.

“Yards of the month” are also recognized by the committee in season.

The EIC had a hand in creating the “Welcome to Creston” signs at the east and west edges of town on Highway 34, rehabbing the Iowana Hotel, community banners and forming a process where renters are able to have garbage pickup in town.

Each year the EIC provides paint and other supplies for three to eight houses in Creston that it feels could be enhanced with a new coat of paint.

In the 12 years the project has been able to function, only two home owners have failed to follow through with the painting project. A third home took several years to complete.

Some houses may be turned down for the project if the committee thinks they are too badly deteriorated to benefit from paint.

The houses must be owner occupied within city limits and the owner must do the work or find someone to do so.

Gerharz said when the project first started 14 years ago, the group tried to find organizations to do the scraping and painting, however, EPA guidelines require asbestos certification for anyone doing those types of projects unless they are closely connected to the owner.

Hiring a certified contractor would be cost prohibitive, so now finding someone to paint is left up to the owner.

The application process for Paint Creston opens Monday. Applications will be available at the Chamber office, 208 W. Taylor St., or on the website crestoniowachamber.com.

Those who are interested in working with the EIC can call the chamber for information to join a Zoom meeting at 7 a.m. the third Friday of the month.


Reporter, columnist, teacher, children's book author, book store owner - Regina Smith has a wide range of experience in writing and education. She combines those interests and experiences to cover city and county government and human interest stories as well as writing a biweekly column in her home town of Creston, Iowa.