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Work toward the library, cultural center should continue

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 10:55 a.m. CDT

From Joshua Borgmann

Creston

In recent weeks, there has been much discussion over whether the Lincoln School should be sold to an Omaha developer or used for the much needed Creston Area Library and Cultural Center. I must stress that work toward the new library and cultural center should continue whether at Lincoln School or at another location.

Currently, the needs of young educated professionals in Creston are not being met. My own story can serve as just one example of this. When my wife and I moved to the Creston area about a decade ago, it was hard to imagine that it was supposed to be a kind of regional hub. There were few recreational and entertainment options for people in their twenties or thirties who didn’t have children. At the time, the disc golf course, skate park, art gallery and businesses like Adams Street Espresso and the Upper Crust didn’t even exist. We didn’t want to spend all our time in a bar, and we didn’t see our faith represented among the churches in Creston. We often felt socially isolated and unwelcome in the community. Almost a decade later, I am just now starting to feel that we have a couple of close friends here, most of them “outsiders,” as well.

Over the past decade, I have witnessed many young professionals at my workplace and in the community as a whole arrive eager to contribute, only to leave within a year or two, citing experiences similar to my own. The few that stay often end up spending their time, money, and energy in Des Moines or Omaha or in one of the smaller surrounding communities like Greenfield, Red Oak or Winterset that have better facilities and programming. Greenfield has the Warren Cultural Center, Red Oak has a stunning Performing Arts Center, Winterset has an arts center and a new modern library. Even tiny Stanton has managed to modernize its library. Why should a regional hub like Creston lag behind? I don’t think it should. Doing nothing or believing that the library only needs a little more space, will send the message that Creston is not interested in meeting the needs of a group that they claim to want to attract.

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