Iowa League of Cities recognizes Marquette as 2013 All-Star Community


The city of Marquette was recognized as a 2013 All-Star Community at the Iowa League of Cities annual conference and exhibit, which was held in Dubuque from Sept. 25-27. Pictured with the award (left to right) are City Manager Dean Hilgerson, Mayor Norma Mason, Councilwoman Rinda Ferguson, City Clerk Sue Weipert and Councilman Jason Winter. (Submitted photo)

 

The city of Marquette was recognized as a 2013 All-Star Community at the Iowa League of Cities annual conference and exhibit, which was held in Dubuque from Sept. 25-27.

 

The All-Star Community Award is the most prestigious honor given by the League to cities. Entries are judged by a panel of former city officials and others familiar with municipal government. Judges determine winners based on innovative efforts in areas such as urban renewal, development, preservation, service sharing or quality of life improvements. 

 

Because of the city’s downtown economic development project, Marquette was one of seven of Iowa’s 946 cities to garner recognition. The city of Marquette’s downtown development project began with two goals: create a long-desired community center and enhance tourism. A study done by Iowa Great Places showed potential for downtown growth in the community.

 

Community leaders knew overnight lodging was a missing piece to their economic puzzle. Without a place to stay, vehicles would continue to pass through Marquette, admiring its natural beauty and charm, but spending few dollars. On the surface, a city with fewer than 500 residents is not an ideal hotel development location, but Marquette pursued a development group focused on smaller communities.

 

After discussions and brainstorming, the final plan included removing a block of buildings to create a space where a hotel, community center and city hall could be housed under one roof. The city now has a condo agreement with the hotel that encompasses city hall and the community center. Several other areas in the building are common spaces shared by the city and the hotel. The hotel maintains the inside spaces, while the city maintains the outside.

 

This year’s other All-Star Community Award winners were Belle Plaine, Carroll and Decorah, as well as Camanche, Clinton and Low Moor, who received a joint award.

 

To see the video the League created about Marquette, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO05wDb2rDE&feature=youtu.be.

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