Monthly news and announcements for residents of Story City, Iowa

Story City Briefing

Spec Building Starts to Go Up

The 40,000 square foot speculative building in the Interstate 35 Business Park is under construction and should be completed by the end of the year. This joint effort wouldn’t happen without the partnership that exists between the Story City EDC, Story City GCC, Story City Municipal Electric, Story Construction, and City of Story City.

Snow Ordinance

Story City’s Snow Emergency Ordinance bans the parking of any vehicle on a public street, alley, or parking area in the public right-of-way while in effect. A snow emergency parking ban will begin when the National Weather Service predicts 2 or more inches ... Read More

City Receives Iowa Department of Transportation RISE Grant

The city has been awarded a RISE grant in the amount of $323,709 for construction of Rich Olive Street in the Interstate 35 Business Park. The proposed project would construct approximately 1,000 lineal feet of roadway at an estimated cost of $835,044. The construction of the new roadway will provide direct access to 32.6 acres of land in the Interstate 35 Business Park including the new 40,000 square foot speculative building currently under construction. The street is named after Story City resident Rich Olive who has led many of the city’s economic development successes over the past 30 years. He also served in the State Senate for one term where he was known as a consensus builder between both political parties. Rich has also been involved in many community service organizations, coached the girls high school basketball team, and for many years has been the announcer for high school football games. 

Divided or United?  Good Question

In the span of a 24 hour period Story City went from being a deeply divided community to a united community. So, which is it? Good question as we move forward.
During the last month and a half, the community became embroiled in an emotional and hotly debated issue on whether or not to rezone a piece of property for a proposed truck stop. Yet, at the same time was a proposed bond issue for construction of a new swimming pool that received little if any mention or discussion by the community.
As I reflect back these are some of my observations that I would like to share:
  • An Apology – to Truckers I think is in order. From the e-mails that I have received, to the postings on the city’s Facebook page, from the comments posted on the numerous news articles, and from the call in comments that were on Jan Mikelsen’s WHO radio show on November 7th the message is loud and clear. Truck drivers were deeply offended. Whether intended or not, the message sent was, “we like truckers and you provide a needed service, but we just don’t want a truck stop in our community because (state reason here).” Intended or not truckers were stereotyped as a group and in this case rather negatively.

  • Failure to Dialogue As a community we failed to talk with one another and to listen to one another. The truck stop issue reached such an emotional level that it kept people from having a much needed open and honest dialogue on the pro’s and con’s. Why? Probably from fear that whatever might be said would be misinterpreted and posted on social media.
  • It’s not Quality of Life vs. Economic Growth They go hand in hand. Quality of life is important in attracting both people and businesses to a community, but it’s economic growth that allows a community like Story City to afford such quality of life amenities as a recreation center, trails, golf course, and yes a new swimming pool.

  • The Community Got it Right with the Pool Vote At one of the public meetings Kurt Erickson said, “If the truck stop is approved Love’s is a good partner, if it’s not approved I’m o.k. with that too, but I’m here in support of the new swimming pool.” To have had both the proposed truck stop and the proposed bond issue on the new swimming pool both be defeated in a 24 hour period would have tarnished the image of our community. Story City would have gone from being known as a progressive and get things done city to an anti-everything community. No person or business want’s to locate in a community like this.
    What’s remarkable is that it passed with 66% of the vote. In any bond election the general rule is that 25% to 33% will vote against. If there is any round of applause that should be given it is that the pool vote passed with 66% of the vote.

  • Where do we go from here? United or Divided? Whatever the outcome there was bound to be some anger and bitterness. However, I would like to note two individuals who spoke at the last meeting on the topic – Gary Griggs and Scott Johnson – both expressed why they were opposed, but more importantly said that they would support whatever decision the City Council made. Being “united” as a community was more important than the issue itself.
So, where do we go from here? I don’t know, but it reminded me of a speech Abraham Lincoln once made. Lincoln gave many memorable speeches as a candidate and as President (the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address), but it’s the one he gave upon receiving his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1858 that become known as his “House Divided” speech. In his remarks Lincoln said that, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” This remark is based upon the biblical phrase from the book of Matthew, “and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” It’s where the phrase, “united we stand, divided we fall” comes from.
Where do we go from here? That depends upon each individual and the community as a whole on where it wants to go.
Mark A. Jackson
City Administrator

City of Story City

504 Broad St.
Story City, IA 50248
(515) 733-2121
(515) 733-2460 Fax
Office Hours:
M-F 8am-4:30pm

Mike Jensen

Dwayne Fiihr
Valaree Muhlenburg
Dave Sporleder
Becky Watson
Matt Triggs 

Mark A. Jackson
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