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How the city of Manchester works from downtown to the edges of town

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 7:32 PM CDT
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MANCHESTER, Iowa (KCRG) - Manchester brings its own special branding, with a whitewater Park right through the middle of this city of just more than 5,000 people.

But the views of the kayakers and canoers can come from all over, even from the back deck of Riverbend Pub & Grill on South Franklin Street.

“For years, cities have chased smokestacks, trying to get jobs here for people,” Tim Vick, the longtime city manager of Manchester, said. “Now it’s changing a little. We’re chasing people. Trying to get people to move into those rural areas. But how do you get somebody to move into rural areas? You have to have amenities that interest them.”

That's what you'll get with Manchester. It's within 50 minutes of Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo.

“We have a lot of people who work in Cedar Rapids but live here because of the small school district, public and a private school here,” Sarah Taylor, owner of Sarah’s Flowers & Gifts on West Main Street, said.

Taylor’s role is shop owner -- but also a recorder of life. You can see it on the signs in her store.

“I don’t know if there’s any other profession like ours that covers from life to death,” Taylor said. “We have students that went through high school and prom that we delivered flowers to their mom when they were born in the hospital here in Manchester.”

Bushel & a Peck sits in the valley, just steps from the Maquoketa River, and is a frequent stop during the city’s many events and festivals. Dave Reiss bought it two years ago.

“I used to work at Fareway for 42 years and I kind of know the industry, somewhat,” said Reiss, with some understated irony. “It’s a new challenge every day and it’s fun.

Then shift to the southeast edge of Manchester as the city has hundreds of manufacturing jobs. We saw in recent years at Henderson Products and XL Specialized Trailers during the Made in Eastern Iowa series on KCRG-TV9.

This leads to Manchester being a destination of work as well for people who may live elsewhere.

“We’ve been able to diversify our industrial park,” said Vick. “We bring in people from Waterloo, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids to work in our industries.”

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