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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Contagious Improvement

I came across an advertisement recently that has really stuck with me. It is a Lowes ad where a new couple moves into town and places a potted plant in a window box. This leads to the neighbor planting a flower garden, which leads to a painted fence, shutters on a house, and so on. Near the end of the commercial, a voice over comes on and says, “Home improvement is contagious.”

How true is that? I can’t even count the number of people who have taken notice of the construction, renovations, and curb appeal being done to buildings around the square. I think it’s more than just an attempt to “keep up with the Joneses.” Like the ad noted, I think it’s contagious.
Since the induction of the Community Development position in Montezuma last April, there has been so much excitement and movement in this town. The thousands of dollars of grant money and donations have already made a lasting impact on our community through beautification, events, building purchases and business expansions. So, let’s take it one step further, shall we?
As we are still eagerly awaiting word of the recipients of the façade grant, let’s keep moving forward. Let’s let the betterment of this community become contagious.
To help us visualize such growth and revitalization, I am challenging you to send photos of your various improvement projects over the last year, be it home or business, to We will begin showcasing these improvements and projects for others to catch the bug of property improvement. 
As always, community development is only made possible through the support of the people in and around it. To give to Montezuma Community Development or to learn about volunteer opportunities, contact the office at (641) 623-7600 or send to Box 314, Montezuma, IA 50171. 

Huge Thank You

It's not always glamorous behind the scenes; and credit is usually not given where it is due.

Last year, Montezuma received a face-lift with banners, hanging baskets, and new concrete planters. There was a real focus on making lasting improvements in regards to community beautification. This year, we were able to go even farther with a grant from Keep Iowa Beautiful to enhance our city entrance signs.

As someone who just stepped into this position three months ago, I have to pass on much of that credit to Terence Blain, who worked tirelessly and thanklessly last year to get the ball rolling in so many areas of community development. Also to be recognized is Kevin Kudart and the Electric Department for hanging and recently lowering the basket hangers by a foot. I know the volunteer watering crew is greatly appreciative.

Thank you also goes out to the Montezuma FFA for working closely with Montezuma Community Development to plant our baskets and planters this year. The baskets are yet to be hung, but the planters look fantastic.

Thank you to Vannoy Chevrolet for providing the equipment and water for the water tank.

Thank you to the community groups who have voluntarily adopted the city entrance signs and helped to plant them. They include the Montezuma Methodist Choir, the Montezuma Nursing and Rehab Center, the Montezuma Lions Club, and a Montezuma Young Adult  Small Group.

Thank you to those who have contributed to community beautification, as well. A special thanks to the Montezuma Public Library Board and the Poweshiek Leadership Program for their generous giving.

Even though Spring 2013 has been full of strange, rainy weather, the city has been planted and it looks beautiful. 

Thank you to all who participated. None of this is possible without your help. 


Friday, May 3, 2013

For everything, there is a season

For everything, there is a season. Even if it's proving itself difficult, Spring will eventually come, leaving behind the dormancy of winter. As I walked around the city square today, I believe the same thing can be said of Montezuma.

For the past several years, there have been many attempts to revive our community; to bring it back to a former shine; to build it even bigger; to leave a better place for a future generation to call home. I believe we are truly starting to see the season in Montezuma, and that season is bringing revitalization, rehabilitation, and growth. 

There are several projects happening at the moment, and even to a passerby, they are noticeable changes. Family Dentistry has dove in to construction on the north half of the former Apple Basket. Studs are in place and walls are about to become a reality. The back entrance has seen a makeover, as well. With this kind of progress, an early summer opening is a definite possibility. 

Nearby, the former County Seat Bar has been converted into usable space for fitness center Boot Camp Madness. They have been open on the north side of the square for nearly a year and have outgrown the space.

The new space has been cleaned and gutted, revealing original tin ceilings and ample workout space. The façade of the building has been cleaned and painted, as well. These two projects will bring some much needed foot traffic and aesthetically pleasing additions to the east side of the square. 

On the north side of the square, the Monte Tap has been getting a face-lift of its own. Owner Aaron McCaslen is expanding his restaurant and bar into the south portion of the building. Renovations are underway for an early summer opening that would include dinner service.

In other news:

Jumpin' Jimmy's, the restaurant and bar located at Lake Ponderosa's Marina, has opened for the season.

Just 4 U Consignment on East Main is now Tracy's Treasures. It will continue to offer  consignment items.

We're still awaiting word on the façade improvement grant, which we believe will be a springboard for economic development and revitalization in our community. But even without that, there has been  movement and activity, and as we sit ever so patiently waiting for the next season, we can see that it is near.

Community revitalization is only made possibly by community wide support and patronization, as well as financially partnering with our organization as we continue to advocate for all areas of Montezuma. To give or volunteer, please contact us at or call 623-7600.