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Iowa State University Extension

Community leaders to learn from peers at small towns conference

Northeast Iowa Community Development Conference

From attracting younger workers to reducing carbon emissions and supporting new businesses, Iowa’s small towns face issues and possibilities as they plan for the future.  Community leaders have a chance to find out how their peers are handling such challenges at the Northeast Iowa Community Development Conference on Sept. 3.

According to Sandy Scholl, an ISU Extension community and economic development specialist and conference committee chair, “We’re hoping that folks will get some new ideas for their local development efforts and find out from people like themselves what has worked in communities like their own.”

The conference, Small Towns Looking Toward the Future, is geared toward small town leaders, volunteers, local elected officials, local development groups, Chambers of Commerce, community betterment groups and similar entities. It’s set for Sept. 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Heartland Acres Agribition Center, 2600 Swan Lake Boulevard, Independence.

“Our conference programs are related to what’s happening in other small towns,” Scholl said. For example, representatives from the City of Decorah will explain how they are implementing their mission to follow the Kyoto protocol, reduce carbon emissions and save on the city’s operating costs. The Iowa Department of Economic Development will offer tips on how communities can “go green.”

Entrepreneur Jason Trout will discuss how technology and the Internet make it possible to choose Iowa as a rural location to grow a business and create quality of life.

Other topics include supporting start-ups as well as existing businesses, dealing with a changing workforce, developing agri-tourism and providing affordable energy-efficient housing.

For registration information, visit the conference Web site. The registration cost is $40 if paid by Aug. 15. After Aug. 15 the price increases to $55. For more information, contact Scholl at (319) 433-1286

This article appeared in August 2008 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter