Representatives from organizations gather in Alta Community Center for cooperative discussion on community's future.
Members of the community and representatives of various civic groups gathered at the Alta Community Center on Monday evening to participate in a forum designed to allow those present to hear and debate news from the numerous delegations at the meeting.
Nearly 40 people attended the biannual conference, including delegates from the City of Alta, Alta Utilities, Alta School District, Kiwanis, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Alta Chamber of Commerce, Buena Vista County Fair Board and the Alta Fire and Police Departments, and several took advantage of the opportunity to speak and present updates concerning their group to the others seated in the Community Center.
Alta School District
Alta Superintendent Fred Maharry reported that bid letting for the new addition to the elementary school would hopefully start at the end of June, and that $63,000 had been raised toward the district's goal of $150,000 for the three community use areas of the building.
He said the district's main concern is providing enough classroom space for students, but Maharry also said he and other school officials are looking to make the community use areas as accessible and usable for everyone in town as possible throughout the day.
"We think we can make this very attractive for the entire community," Maharry said. "I know there have been some concerns about different areas, and we've tried to address those concerns as best we can."
Alta Utilities director Ron Chapman told the group that approximately 600 phone lines in town have been connected to the municipal-owned Altatec service out of nearly 1,200 phone lines in the community.
Nearly 500 people have signed up for cable service from Altatec, while the company has 100 dial-up and 50 high-speed internet patrons.
He also said there would be an across-the-board increase in electrical rates later this year in response to a loss of approximately four percent of power in towns receiving electricity from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), which includes communities such as Alta in northwest Iowa.
He also said the city is looking to the future and may buy a base-loaded power generation system, as current estimates show the utilities could be short of power in 2005.
Chapman informed the crowd that Alta will also be printing its own phone book in the next two months, which will include all of the old 284-prefix numbers and the new 200-prefix digits. Maps and different directories may also be included.
Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Paul Hill and Jeff James spoke on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce at the convention, and said the weekly Community Coffees would take place at the Alta Community Center beginning the first Friday in May, as Summit Evangelical Church will no longer be using the Lighthouse due to the construction of their new building.
The pair also brought up the possibility of a parade taking place during the Buena Vista County Fair this June, and said volunteers were needed in order for the event to occur.
Main Street Renovation
The topic of Main Street renovation was also brought up at the meeting, and several people spoke out.
"We want to improve the appearance of Main Street in as many ways as we can," Hill said. "That could mean new light poles or new sidewalks, and it could also mean getting new banners and getting them up to improve the looks of downtown."
Darell Deprez of Darell's Foodtown went even farther with the issue, asking those in attendance to look beyond the aesthetic issues and concentrate on attracting businesses and keeping the spirit of the community alive.
"This group of people right here will determine whether Alta stays a vibrant community or whether it dries up and goes down the pipe," Deprez said. "We talk about rejuvenating Main Street and putting down sidewalk, but if there is nothing to walk into what is the purpose of putting down new sidewalk? We have to make sure that this town grows."
Deprez also voiced concerns about the status of the city's website.
"We're really lagging behind on that," Deprez said. "If you have a business that is looking around for a place to locate, one of the first things they're going to check out is the city website. I look around at towns half our size, and they have excellent websites. Anything you want to know about that town you can find there. We need to get moving on that and make our website just as good as that."