Project Contact: Nathan Thompson
Through a rural assistance programs administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, the RC&D has been honored to engage with Postville residents and leaders in a multi-year process of visioning and planning for the future of the town. The resulting Postville Brownfield Area-Wide Plan (PDF), completed in February, is the product of conversations with members of all of the diverse communities that call Postville home, as well as hours of research and analysis about effective rural community development. Their input informed a blueprint for how Postville can come together to create a more vibrant, inclusive, and business-friendly town using its existing resources and strengths.
A critical part of the plan — and one that makes this plan unique — is its emphasis on developing community capacity and cohesiveness. More than other places, the Plan recommends that Postville foster relationships between its residents in order to effectively address the challenges that rural towns all over the country are facing. These include a stagnant population, low demand for local real estate, and older building stock that poses a challenge for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
However, Postville has a lot of good things going for it including large employers, a thriving school district, affordability, access to natural resources, and its diversity, which the plan highlights as a central part of its future economic development strategy. Improving the quality of life for residents, access to high-quality employment and educational opportunities, and changing the narrative of Postville are all priorities the community members consider a critical part of the plan.
The Plan has inspired local leaders already!
Many leaders who have contributed to this plan are helping to move forward with projects like event planning, marketing, murals, new public spaces, and a new farmer’s market for the town. The RC&D will continue to work alongside the leaders and residents of Postville to foster projects that strengthen and improve this vibrant community.