Small town in Butler County makes big plans for future
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The town of New Hartford is doing something many small communities in our area are not.
Developers broke ground on the town’s first Dollar General on Wednesday.
It’s part of big plans leaders have for the town’s future — and recovery efforts.
Back in 2008, the community was hit by a tornado, and days later, a flood. That’s why residents say the new store is a symbol of what’s to come.
“It all came into fruition probably last two or three months,” Dennis Canfield, the mayor of New Hartford said.
Dirt and grass are the only thing on the site right now, but Canfield says it represents a new chapter.
“There’s been a lot of empty properties in the city and a lot of things went out of business at that time.” Canfield said. “A lot of houses were destroyed and damaged.”
Canfield was in New Hartford when the flooding and tornado hit in late May of 2008.
He says the area was under about 4 feet of water during the flood. But since then, he says the town has worked on flood prevention efforts — making new projects like this possible.
Bob Dickson has lived in New Hartford for nearly 40 years. He says the whole community is excited for the new developments.
“It’s not just the Dollar General. We’re going to be having an ice cream store here in town. There’s going to be a restaurant opening here in town,” Dickson said. “So there’s a lot of things going on and there’s a development planned up by the cemetery for 50 homes.”
New Hartford is one of a few small communities that saw its population grow in 2020. It comes as census data shows more Iowans are choosing to live in cities.
Canfield says the tight-knit community is what draws many people to small towns.
“[It’s] just enthusiasm of the people here in town to improve what we have to grow,” Canfield said. “We’re heading in the right direction.”
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