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The Iowana becomes a beautiful jewel, again

There’s been enough negative news coverage lately in the media with the Herman Cain and Penn State sex scandals, that I decided I wanted to write about something positive.

And what could be more positive locally than The Iowana having an open house 10 a.m. Thursday?

The behemoth of a building has plagued Creston as an eyesore for decades. Now, The Iowana is finally being used for low-income, senior housing.

It’s only been in the past two years that things have begun to turn around for the former hotel people used to refer to as the “jewel of southwest Iowa.” Fortunately for me, those are the two years that I have lived in Creston.

It took a few times for a syndicator, or buyer, to purchase the tax credits and get the ball rolling on the building’s restoration.

I can remember sitting in the city council chambers watching them discuss again and again if it was financially worth finding a syndicator in an economic recession.

Thankfully, they took a risk, and it paid off in the end.

I feel partial to The Iowana since I covered just about each phase of construction the building went through.

A year ago, I was in the building with a hazmat suit the Creston Fire Department lent me to take pictures. Now, that’s called dedication to the cause.

The building had a long way to go to get done in a year’s time, but it happened.

I’ve found that the majority of the public is surprised that construction was done on time, but it’s important to remember that most of the work was done on the interior of the building, so progress could be made, even in bad weather.

A big reason The Iowana has been successful is because of the hard work of George Flott, the construction foreman.

I would especially like to extend my thanks to him because he was more than helpful to answer my questions about the status of the construction.

Flott would even give me tours of the building, as long as I had a hard hat on. And I did, every time, thanks to Creston Fire Department for giving me one.

The Iowana is something Creston natives can really be proud of. I’m not even originally from the area, and I have a lot of pride when I see The Iowana sign lit up at night.

Even if you can’t make the open house Thursday, which is being planned with Creston Chamber of Commerce, make sure to say thank you to the people who made the restoration of The Iowana possible.

Believe me, it took a lot of people and a lot of work to get the “jewel of southwest Iowa” gleaming again.

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