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Daily News Editorial – The Golden Age

By Staff | Jan 24, 2008

The Golden Age of Estherville has begun.

It started Monday night when business leaders stepped forward to pledge $45,000 toward implementing the recommendations of Excel! Estherville, the community strategic plan.

The Smart Solutions Group of West Des Moines developed the plan in concert with community leaders who had the common goal of helping Estherville become the best community that it can possibly be.

And it’s about time.

For too many years, Estherville took a back seat while some neighboring communities and counties grew by leaps and bounds. Still feeling the bite from the Morrell’s closings in 1982 and again in 1985, Estherville didn’t have the chance to share the wealth as other communities have.

Now, though, that’s about to change.

While other communities grew at exponential rates, Estherville has had a more planned growth. Some of the most recent developments include:

n The Regional Wellness Center, one of the best in the area.

n New businesses on the former Iowa Department of Transportation property on Central Avenue.

n A new school building project.

n Incredible growth in the Iowa Lakes Community College Wind Turbine and Energy Technology program and Iowa Lakes as a whole.

n New businesses filling formerly empty storefronts in downtown Estherville.

While Estherville’s growth has not has been as dramatic as what has been experienced by other communities, it has been more stable. And everything has been done with an eye toward the future.

It’s that sort of vision that led area business people to help fund Excel! Estherville. And it’s that same vision that led those same businesses to step forward and pledge nearly half of the $100,000 needed to fund the first 100 days of implementing the community strategic plan.

City voters will be asked to approve a 1-cent sales tax to help fund implementing the community strategic plan. That alone is projected to raise $600,000 a year. While some of the funding would certainly be earmarked for making the recommendations of Excel! Estherville a reality, some of the revenue raised could also go toward property tax relief. In that way, out-of-town shoppers could help pay their share in fostering Estherville’s renaissance.

The vision is profound. Making it true is aggressive. But it will happen.

Hang on tight, because it’s going to be a great ride.