Downtown meeting draws community interest

Main Street Iowa Executive Director Deb Sprecker tells citizens that the Frank Gotch story would be a great icon to market in business promotions and community celebrations. It's something that makes Humboldt unique, she said. Humboldt Independent photo.

By Kent Thompson
The future of Humboldt’s downtown lies with its citizens and those citizens weren’t shy about expressing what they would like to see done at a series of meetings last week.
From Wednesday through Friday, three members of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA): Jim Engle, director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center; Deb Sprecker, executive director of Main Street Iowa and Tim Reinders, a design consultant for Main Street Iowa, met with Humboldt residents about economic development in downtown Humboldt.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the three-member team met with interested stakeholders in the downtown. There was a nearly two-hour community meeting on Wednesday, April 12, where local residents responded to six questions on Humboldt and the downtown and retail shopping. On Friday, April 14, the three-member team revealed their findings and talked about possible avenues to make improvements in the community. A full report will be coming back to the city in the coming weeks.
Prior to last week's meetings, an online survey was sent to community stakeholders with 190 responses, quite a high number.
Those responding listed Humboldt's greatest strengths as follows:
• Dedicated downtown storeowners
• Eating places
• Easy accessibility
• Business variety
• Local entrepreneurs
• Wide streets
The greatest challenges were:
• Lack of business diversity, very few shops pull people in
• Buildings need work
• Storefront vacancies
• Need more reasons to go downtown
• No clothing stores
• Poor business hours
• Lack of visibility from the highway
• Canopies
• Sidewalk problems
Read more about the downtown meetings in this week's Humboldt Independent. Don't miss out, subscribe today by clicking on the link at the top of the page.

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