LeClaire residents seek long-term economic development plans

By  | 

LE CLAIRE, Iowa (KWQC) - On the northern end of downtown LeClaire sits a historic home known as Mississippi Cottage Antiques. Owner, Steve Henson, first started the business 10 years ago.

"I've retired four times and I have finally found something I like," Henson said. "Antiques are very important they are all about history and history is very interesting."

When Henson first decided to open his store on the north side of the downtown area, he believed new businesses would open nearby within the next few years.

"We believed that the downtown would come all the way up to us and maybe go past us and it never did."

Saturday, city leaders, residents and business owners met to discuss furthering development on the north side as well as other issues. With assistance from the University of Northern Iowa's Institute for Decision Making team, the group discussed strategies and plans to move the city forward. Throughout the morning, attendees wrote down ideas and goals they would like to see implemented. Sidewalk and street repairs, extended bike paths and truck re-routing were a few of the topics discussed. However, many agreed furthering the development downtown should be a top priority. Mayor, Ray Allen, said added business could help increase tax revenue.

"We want to see where we can develop commercial and light industrial business and increase our tax base in that area," Allen said. "A lot of people felt that we need to improve our streets and sidewalks, more access to the downtown from our residential areas and river front redevelopment."

Henson said expanding business further north would help not only his business, but the city overall.

"People will go to the downtown area and stay there and not come up north the two or three blocks towards us, so if it was a nice area and it continued up to where we are now it would help a lot getting those people up here too."