CC Mayor: Charles City progress — Looking backward, looking forward

By James A. Erb, Charles City mayor

 The Summer of 2017 has already seen quite a bit of progress in the Charles City area. Here are some of the highlights thus far:

​The Mark Kuhn Family has reopened the All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club which features a tennis court that resembles the famous Wimbledon. It has now been named, the “Alex J. Kuhn Court of Dreams” during a two day invitational at the court. As an extra bonus, the event was covered by CBS News which showcased the talents of top-ranked juniors from Iowa and Minnesota.


​The McQuillen Place building project reached another milestone as the completed clock tower and weathervane were set in place by crane. The builder/developer is Charley Thomson. Many aspects of the building reflect the history of three generations of the Thomson Family. When completed, this project will be an anchor for all of Main Street. We then can turn our attention to improving a number of additional buildings on Main Street which clearly require attention.


​The long awaited “Revival” art piece was publicly dedicated several weeks ago. The project was jointly conceived by the collaborative artist, David Williamson, and the Meyer Family who lost their home at this location to the 2008 Flood. It was built with materials from Charles City’s historic suspension bridge that was lost in that flood. Numerous meetings were held to obtain ideas and words for use in developing a consensus for the project.  


​The City is also moving forward with a three month Fiber-To-The-Premise feasibility study which will be performed by Lookout Point Communications. The study will be comprehensive and allow our community to decide whether to take an essential step to complete our broadband infrastructure. We also hope to determine whether it would be best to partner with other regional communities to complete this network.  


​Coming up next are several pass through events that are scheduled for Charles City.

The 15th annual Project AWARE will be cleaning the Cedar River from the Minnesota/Iowa Border to Nashua from July 10th -14th. This event is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ annual event with 484 being the total number of volunteers of which 168 will be participating the entire week. The group will be staying overnight in Charles City on Wednesday, July 12th and Thursday, July 13th. This is a great event with a great benefit for our river and for those who enjoy its use. You can greet our visitors at Riverfront Park where they will be staying overnight.


​Then on July 26th, RAGBRAI will be coming to town and will be staying the night. As most people are aware, this is a Des Moines Register event from the Missouri to the Mississippi that requires the all-out participation of all the communities along the route. In recent times, Charles City has been an overnight town in 1996, 2002, 2010, and now in 2017. There is nothing quite like it as it allows a wide variety of visitors to experience our entire town. In particular, we need a great deal of voluntary participation so as to in one way or another house the thousands of people on the ride with their varying needs.


​In the above listing of community projects and activities, please note there is no one way to success. We have public projects, private projects and partnership projects. One thing that doesn’t work is a lack of collaboration, but here’s to everyone who has worked together in these projects contributing generously of their Time, Treasure and Talent. It is that effort that has earned Charles City a great deal of praise.  


​That leads me to my next topic. There will be a city election this November. I have reached the age where it will be better for me to focus my energy on special areas of interest. I therefore, will not be on the ballot this fall. My only regret is that I will not be working as fully with city staff as it has been my privilege to do since 1996. Charles City has a great future and it is my full intention to remain a constructive part of that history.  


​One last sad note. Words are of very little value in attempting to ease the sorrow caused by the loss of Logan Luft. Logan was obviously a young man capable of making good things happen all around him. Over time, we should find ways to honor Logan by engaging the potential of our youth to help change things (for the better) here in his hometown.