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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


The Iowa League of Cities has named Elkader a 2015 All-Star Community. The designation honors the town’s riverfront revitalization and Founders Park project. 

This is the first time Elkader has received the award.

The All-Star Community Award is the most prestigious honor given by the League to cities. A panel of former city officials and others familiar with municipal government judge entries and determine winners based on innovative efforts in areas such as urban renewal, development, preservation, collaborative efforts or quality of life improvements.

 Elkader was among three of Iowa’s 945 cities to be honored with the award. The others were Sheldon and Waterloo.

“Projects such as these continue to demonstrate the ‘can-do’ attitude of this community and this type of award draws attention to that on a state-wide level,” said Elkader Mayor Bob Garms. “Elkader has been recognized in various ways in the past—the American Main Street Award, the designation of the Cultural and Entertainment District, to name a few. This award complements those and demonstrates the vitality and vibrancy of this community.”

The residential buyout of 32 homes after the 2008 flood created the opportunity for Elkader to develop a park, river access with a white water feature and more. Volunteers, partnerships with area businesses, the main street community and grants helped make the project possible. The current park and river front redevelopments have allowed Elkader to reconnect with the Turkey River, which runs through the city, and has created opportunities for economic development, recreation and tourism. 

The redeveloped area has provided the city with a perfect venue for its annual Sweet Corn Days celebration and the first-ever Art in the Park, which was held last weekend and drew an estimated 1,200 people. The white water feature has become a popular destination for kayakers while the river front area has become popular for fishermen and spectators.

Elkader will be recognized at an awards banquet at the League’s Annual Conference and Exhibit, to be held in Cedar Rapids September 23-25.

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