The Clarke County Development Corporation board, leadership from the City and County as well as business owners and economic development professionals from around the State came together Friday for the Development Corporation’s annual planning retreat. This year’s event, held at Honey Hill Event Center in Osceola, Iowa, focused on an expansive vision for Osceola and Clarke County to meet recent growth and housing demands as well as address projected growth for the community.
Over the past 18 to 24 months, housing opportunities around the city have filled with an influx of renters and buyers. According to Helen Kimes from Saylor Realty, the housing market in rural Iowa is in desperate need of new inventory. Many properties often receive competitive offers within days of listing, sometimes before they can even go public on the MLS system. This demand is high in Clarke County as a whole, due to strong manufacturing growth, aggressive hiring, and expansion of companies like Altec and Hormel.
Much of the development discussions on Friday centered on how to not only bring additional housing development to the area, but also the businesses and amenities that will support a growing community. Architect and Urban Planner, William Ludwig & Associates worked up a development proposal that focused on taking advantage of Osceola’s unique location on the intersections of I-35, Highway 34, Highway 69 and the rail road system. With a new housing development starting just off Clay Street in the next few months, the upcoming launch of the Revelton Distilling Company in conjunction with the Honey Hill Event Center, as well as the always popular draw to Lakeside Resorts and Casino, growth and planning down the I-35 Corridor was a big part of the day’s discussion. From development of additional housing to the creation of a new business and multi-functional community hub, proposed development covered a gambit of community improvements and attractions.
Take a look at some of the photos from the day’s events surrounding the development of the I-35 Corridor as well as other areas around Osceola:
“The CCDC’s Annual Planning Retreat has been a catalyst for change and development through the county for many years,” said CCDC Executive Director, Bill Trickey. “Planning starts the process of making dreams come true.”
Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority also presented the State of Iowa’s vision, pointing out that much of the growth and demand for development is moving out of urban areas to rural Iowa. Addressing diversification and providing housing and infrastructure are high on the IEDA priority list and she voiced her commitment to help developers and businesses make an impact in Osceola and southern Iowa.
Past planning retreats have garnered very impactful changes and additions to the community. From the 2018 meeting the decision to focus on mental health was made, and within the year the Crossroads Mental Health Substance Abuse Facility was opened. In the 2017 and 2016 planning retreats focused on quality of life and family health. Since then, parks and the trail systems throughout the county have grown and are seeing more families and visitors daily. It’s the hope of the CCDC board and those in attendance that the items discussed Friday will inspire new development and open the flood gates to growth and prosperity for the city of Osceola and Clarke County.