The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

February 7, 2014

Hart gets economy feedback

CLINTON — Somewhere in the murk of politics and job creation local leaders feel there's ground with footing for the Gateway region to re-emerge as a vibrant community.

When Iowa State Sen. Rita Hart, D-Wheatland, hosted an economic development town hall meeting Friday at the Clinton Community College Tech Center, some of the roughly 40 observers came away optimistic that Clinton and surrounding communities will get what they need from the Capitol to progress toward that goal.

"This is a process, communities need to have continual dialogue to move forward," said Nathan Sondgeroth, president of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce. "A meaningful public debate that leads to the best result for the population. It was a great chance to be part of it and the Chamber was happy to do so."

Joining Hart were fellow Senators Bill Dotzler of Waterloo and Steve Sodders of State Center and State Reps. Mary Wolfe of Clinton and Steve Olson of DeWitt. For roughly two hours they advised ways Clinton can improve and spelled out a few misnomers from Des Moines.

Economic development in the area is a particularly hot issue with the Clinton City Council set to vote on a revised Lincolnway Railpark Urban Renewal Plan on Tuesday. However, Hart and company's arrival to talk business growth, she said, was a coincidence.

"I decided to host this because I am really interested in what's going on in Clinton particularly, but the county in general," Hart said. "As a senator I feel it's my job to try to move the county forward as far as economic development is concerned."

The meeting also came less than a day after most people in the room returned from speaking before Gov. Terry Branstad at the Capitol. Sondgeroth — who was among that group — said a lot of that discussion carried over into Friday's meeting.

"Economic development is not a discreet thing," he added. "It takes an educated work force. It takes a healthy work force. Education, health care, transportation — they all drive economic development."

As chairmen of two separate senate economic committees, Dotzler and Sodders did most of the talking. They explained their wishes for the direction of Iowa in the coming years, and shed light on some bills that are still up the funnel.

Micropolitans like Clinton, Dotzler said, should strive to entice young people in the work force, be it through business, entertainment, high-paying jobs and recreation.

"We are finding out more and more as years go by the type of community you have, the amenities you have, the heart of the culture you have in your city is just as important as the economic development incentives you offer," he said. "I tell people everywhere I go that you're in a war for talent. We are competing with the surrounding states, and you know more than any — being a border city — what that competition's about."

The discussion also centered around opportunities Clinton has for these growths. Mike Kirchhoff, CEO of the Clinton Regional Development Corp., said the Lincolnway Industrial Railpark is one of the areas best prospects.

"One of the things that so impressed me about coming to the Clinton region," Kirchhoff said, "was how proactive the region was and the moxie the community showed in developing the railport in the middle of a recession. And now, coming out of the recession, the community and the region are in a position to take advantage of the investment of that product."

Audience dignitaries included elected officials from across Clinton County, local school administrators and business owners. The meeting concluded with a series of questions ranging from the Road Use Tax debate to how various enterprises can tap into resources from Legislators.

Hart said she brings this feedback with her to the Capitol, which helps her address constituent needs for law-making. She was proud of the turnout.

"I take the feedback here to help edit those bills and make changes in the bills to help circumstances back home," Hart added.

She encouraged audience members to visit with her again during today's Legislative Coffee Session at the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • John Hood A year after 'chaos'

    It happened two hours after John Hood finished his run. Like many, he thought the loud boom was just the sound of cannons going off, something that shook the ground. It was odd, but Hood — a 1989 Clinton High School graduate — tried to make it logical, associating the noise with another good happening at the Boston Marathon.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Theft trial for man charged in Wolfe sisters' murders

    A western Pennsylvania man accused of having robbed and killed his next-door neighbors, two sisters of Iowa Rep. Mary Wolfe, now also faces trial on charges that he stole another woman's wedding ring a year ago.

    State police in Greensburg allege that 43-year-old Allen Wade of East Liberty, Pa., stole the ring while delivering a refrigerator to a home in April 2013. Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway on Thursday agreed to schedule the case for trial.

    April 18, 2014

  • More felonies added to sex abuse charges CLINTON -- A Clinton man already facing multiple felony charges for allegedly sexually abusing a child is now facing six more felonies for sexual exploitation of a child. Tony D. James, 45, was charged this past weekend with six counts of sexual expl

    April 18, 2014

  • Wildlife service to conduct burnings CLINTON -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct several prescribed burns this spring. The burns will take place on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties. Sites planned for burning

    April 18, 2014

  • Women jailed on meth charges

    CLINTON -- Two Clinton women are currently being held in the Clinton County jail on $50,000 cash-only bonds for methamphetamine charges. Jessica L. Crabtree, 29, 215 10th Ave. North, and Tera A. Riddle, 27, 611 1/2 S. Seventh St., were arrested last

    April 18, 2014

  • Photo exhibit 2 'Hats Off' Art exhibit covers downtown (With Map & Video)

    CLINTON -- A clown. Clinton High wrestlers. An expecting mother. A young Mozart. These faces and more all peered through downtown storefronts Thursday. They're there again today, too. Looking back at them was photographer Jean Black. They are her way

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Fire alarm evacuation at Eagle Heights

    Students of Eagle Heights Elementary School were evacuated Thursday afternoon after staff smelled something being emitted in the first-grade hallway and main office areas.

    According to a press release from the Clinton Community School District, staff noticed the smell at approximately 1:10 p.m. It was then determined the fire department should be notified, and the fire alarm was pulled. The building was evacuated quickly and the Clinton Fire Department responded immediately.

    April 17, 2014

  • UPDATED: McColley found not guilty of sex abuse

    Relief showed on the faces of Russell McColley and his family Thursday as a verdict of not guilty was read in court.
    "Our prayers were answered, that's all I have to say," Tracy Hook, McColley's sister, said.
    McColley was facing a charge of second-degree sexual abuse. If he had been convicted of the class B felony, he could have faced as much as 25 years in prison.

    April 17, 2014

  • Court denies man's appeal in robbery CLINTON -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction of a man who robbed a Clinton pawn shop in 2012. Darrell L. Thomas recently appealed his first-degree robbery conviction to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The court released its decision Wednes

    April 17, 2014

  • Dutch Days grand marshals Fulton couple honored as grand marshals

    Bob and Trudy Feldt have been dedicated to the city of Fulton for decades. Whether it be Trudy's 27-year commitment to teaching the children of the community at the River Bend School District, Bob's 33-year career with the Fulton-born c

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Facebook
Clinton
Camanche
Fulton
Clinton Herald photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.