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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

City tries again for Iowa Great Places status

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The City of Storm Lake will again toss its name into the hat in the competition to be named as one of Iowa's Great Places.

In the launch of the program last year, Storm Lake made a concentrated effort to win one of three spots statewide in the program, which eventually went to Sioux City, Clinton and Coon Rapids.

This week, state officials announced that they will accept invitations from communities again, with the program likely to expand to six chosen cities for 2006-07.

On Wednesday, city officials in Storm Lake decided they will try again to capture the status.

"Our intention is to go ahead and tell them we are still interested, and see where it leads us," city staff leader Justin Yarosevich told the Pilot-Tribune.

At this point, the state is just looking for an indication of cities that may be interested, rather than a formal application process.

Although Storm Lake was unsuccessful a year ago, city officials still see potential benefit in the program, and are curious to see what the process will be for choosing cities this year.

"We're going to tell them yes at this point and go down that road," Yarosevich said. "Maybe Storm Lake will be the next Iowa Great Place."

State officials confirmed that cities that tried for the designation last year will be welcomed to apply again.

The window of opportunity may not be open for long. They must indicate their interest by August 15 to be considered. It is unknown if the program will continue after the Vilsack administration ends.

The cities that are chosen will get access to many state resources, department heads and experts in a variety of fields, designed to assist communities in concerted efforts to make their towns a better place to live, work and raise a family. The statewide status and attention do not hurt, either.

The prospect of those resources was enough to stir 146 towns in 94 counties to make a bid for the Great Places designation. Along with Storm Lake, both Spencer and the Iowa Great Lakes area tried and failed to win the designation. More than 1,000 people attended forums during the process for the pilot year of the program.

"This year, the program is designed to allow all those who participated last year and those who have never participated before to be involved, develop or enhance their vision, and grow their great place," said Anita Walker, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the program. "The process allows for short-term and long-term visioning by making workshops, coaches and presentation guidelines available to all who send a letter of application."

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