Several years ago, I was in Akron, Iowa, population 1,558, for an onsite Idea Friendly visit for one week. They’ve been gathering their crowd, building connections, and taking small steps. Their former mayor, Sharon, sends updates periodically. The following is from her latest email update.
We now have seven businesses serving food:
- Chubs is now doing homemade breakfast and lunches.
- Pizza Ranch has new owners since you were here.
- The old bowling alley, and they have the best pasta nights. The chef is from Chicago, so he and his family moved here and bought a house.
- Joe’s Café also has new owners specializing in Mexican food. The new owners were from Sioux City, but they are renting a house here.
- The corner bar, under new management, and serving meals from a new kitchen; A young gal is managing and cooking. It thrills my heart to see so many cars parked around it, especially at night. They frequently have special activities on Saturdays. Certainly draws people to town.
- The golf course has a new manager this summer; and last winter they totally remodeled the inside and created a beautiful patio on the north side of the building.
Justin Higman added fifteen new camping spots to his Lazy H. The front five were all taken by people from Omaha. So, that should mean a lot of new friends for fellow campers. Many of last year’s seasonals left their trailers there all winter; that part opened April 1. The rest of them and the cabins open in May. He is currently in the process of adding one larger cabin and two smaller ones. https://www.lazyhcampground.com/
The Hearts and Souls group is really working on finding out what people want. A lot of young people are working diligently on that. They presented plans for a walking trail around the golf course area at their last gathering. In addition they are working on a plan with the state to safely get the campers from the Lazy H safely to the business district.
The school finally got their school bond issue passed, so they are currently letting bids. The plan is to start building this summer.
The bids came in for our new aquatic center almost double what they were in 2020. However, a few weeks ago someone anonymously gave a check for $250,000. They tore the old pool out in February and March when it was so warm out. A couple of weeks ago the city council agreed to accept a bid on the construction of the pool and start construction this summer.
The Care Center (nursing home) has decided they are going to break soil for an Assisted Living unit. the city of Akron name is on the present lease for their new building and will also be on the new addition.
A guy from LeMars bought an old, dilapidated farmhouse. They raised the house, put a new level under it, and remodeled the old part. It was going to be a hunting lodge, but they decided to let others rent it out. Only $800 for a weekend or by the week for $1200. It sleeps sixteen, but with the huge family room, you could sleep lots more there. The kitchen is on the first floor. The family room is built over the garage. There is a wooden deck on all four sides, and a ramp to get up to the second floor. It is absolutely gorgeous and located just maybe a mile South from the Lazy H. https://www.facebook.com/AkronPonderosa/
I still need to get a picture of the finished area between the vet clinic and the bar. They are converting the front part of that area to a sitting area with tables, large city tree/flowerpots. The back part the new owners of the bar have rented and will have an outside eating area for the smokers. However, if someone wants to buy the lot, the lease will be suspended. The lumber yard donated and put up the wooden fence.
A few years ago, a new young family purchased the Akron Lumber. You should see the remodel project going on. All new roofing, and now they are making part of it a lawn and garden center. And as for the inside of the building, they have rearranged it all. The old depot across the highway is where they have their showroom for their cabinets and faucets. On top of that his parents have moved to Akron, and they are his two most awesome additions to the business. https://www.hardwareretailing.com/iowa-couple-follows-dreams-reopens-akron-lumber-company/
Price Auction Company has been having online auctions every two weeks since the end of the pandemic. Hopefully they again soon have in-person auctions. In addition, they have also started a flea market in Westfield. Both activities bring additional people to our community!
Housing right now is at a premium. The house two to the east of us sold the day it was listed; another house took only the weekend to sell.
Oh, my gosh, Deb. You cannot believe what is happening to spark enthusiasm in our community! Life is good in Akron, Iowa. I love this place!