Eggs and Issues Talking Local Issues

MCDG's Tom Flaherty speaks about housing in Oskaloosa during Saturday's Eggs and Issues.

MCDG’s Tom Flaherty speaks about housing in Oskaloosa during Saturday’s Eggs and Issues.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – This Eggs and Issues was different than most. It featured the Oskaloosa Area Chamber representatives on the panel. The legislators weren’t available on Saturday as they were busy at various conventions around the area.

Ann Smith, Emily Brown, and Tom Flaherty were the panel members on Saturday morning.

Emily Brown, who is the Oskaloosa Main Street Director, started off the day with some comments of how the role of Main Street is to create and maintain a healthy, vibrant, and thriving downtown district.

Ann Smith, Oskaloosa Area Chamber and Development Group Director, said that the chamber has been in Oskaloosa since 1882. Smith said the chamber works as a spokesman for businessmen and women in the community and also for the professional community.

Tom Flaherty spoke about his role as Economic Development Director for Mahaska County and is hired by the Mahaska Community Development Group or MCDG.

Flaherty said that they want to focus on the businesses that are already here, and develop the workforce to help maintain those businesses in the community.

Joe Warrick, of Oskaloosa, said he believes that many times, “we don’t know how good we have it in comparison to other places.”

Warrick said that he has many visitors that tell him how great it is in Oskaloosa.

Warrick believes one of the community’s downfalls is the negativity in the community. “We ought to be talking about the all the good things that’s going on.”

“We all want to criticize everybody for the things they are trying to do to move the community forward. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest obstacles we have to our success. When we figure out a way to move beyond the negative aspects that some people have that are totally inaccurate, we’d be a lot better off,” said Warrick while challenging the panel from the chamber to help overcome that issue.

Warrick’s comments were met with a large applause from those in attendance.

Brown responded to Warrick by saying he was “absolutely right. It’s very easy when you live in a community to focus on the things that are wrong. The things that upset you.”

“When we talk about community marketing alot of the time tourism comes up, and that’s how to market ourselves to people outside of our community. But in our positions, we also need to be cognisant of relaying that message of our community’s worth, and everything we have to offer. Not only to people outside of the community, but also to everyone that lives here,” added Brown.

Oskaloosa resident Gary Capps said that he and his wife were deciding to stay in Oskaloosa or move when she asked if Gary had thought of moving to Des Moines. He said, that if they were living in Des Moines, “Oskaloosa would be a pretty good place to move.”

Capps shared a story of a person he knew that was looking to move back to Iowa, and in particular near where he had grown up. After looking at several communities the size of Oskaloosa. He ultimately chose to move to Oskaloosa.

Capps asked if there was a program in place to attract retirees, highlighting the cost of living, cultural, and recreational opportunities. “I think we have a lot to offer.”

Flaherty said that there isn’t a program specifically aimed at retirees. “But we do have a community that we’re trying to welcome as many people as we can. Retirees are great. 20-year-olds that want to work would be great too.”

Flaherty added that housing options are one of the challenges Oskaloosa faces. “We don’t have a lot of housing options.”

Eggs and Issues for March 24th will be filled with local candidates running for offices. It is scheduled for 8:30 am inside of Smokey Row on the Oskaloosa square.



Posted by on Mar 11 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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