Preserving the Past, Building the Future

Remarks from Mayor DixonEditor’s Note:  Oskaloosa and the Mahaska Community were presented an outstanding gift through the historic preservation and restoration of the Iowa Building on the Northeast corner of the square. Hundreds of community members were present at the ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m., on Saturday, June 13, 2009. The following are remarks made by Mayor David D. Dixon at the unveiling:

I would like to thank everyone for being here today. We appreciate your presence. It is kind of a gray day, so we appreciate so many people turning out for this. This is a proud day for Oskaloosa as we celebrate the refurbishing of the Iowa Building. It probably is an understatement to call it a refurbishing, however. This is really tremendous! I had known from glimpses I had gotten as things were going along that it was going to be good, but this is tremendous.iowa Building Ribbon Cutting

I have been asked to thank various individuals for their work on this project, and I have a list of names for you. First we would like to thank Dennis Shankster and his team of workers: Colt Mefford, Dane Sylvester, and Freddie Aguilar. We also have Less Cubit and Tony DeJong for demolition work; Eldon Zook Construction for concrete work; Dewitt Welding; Phillips Machine and Metal Fabrication; Bruce Veenstra, crane operator; Cunningham, Inc., for metal work on the building; TCR Roofing; Pella Windows (You can see their stickers on the windows. Hopefully they will use this in their advertising); Givin Glass for window removal; Jack Thomas and crew for electrical work; Mike Overbergen and crew for electrical; KALServices for waste removal; Ed Zimmerman who donated the pillars back to the building project.

The pillars are not yet up but if you look down in front, you can see the original pillars that will be put back in place on the building. We’re very pleased to have those.

We also have the Musco Facilities staff for their work on the project. First and foremost, though, I would like to thank the Oskaloosa Downtown Development Group for all their efforts and for their vision, determination and preservation on this. They did a tremendous job.East side of the Iowa Building

I have lived here in Oskaloosa for 30 years, but I am not originally from here. I grew up in a smaller southeast Iowa town. Several years ago I was visiting there, and I was concerned about their future as I went around their square and saw the number of shuttered business store fronts. I was concerned about what the future held for communities like this.

As I went around further, though, I came across a nice new middle school building they had built and I realized I was wrong. I realized that as long as you have people who are willing to invest in their infrastructure and improve their community, you still have a vital community.

That is the case here.

This building is graphic proof that we have a vibrant, vital, and sustainable community. As Mayor, I am always happy to see any new construction in town. This is even more important thought, because this is not a new building being built on the edge of town. Rather this is refurbishing our historic downtown and investing in the heritage that ties us all together.

I commend the Oskaloosa Downtown Development Group for all their efforts on this.

Earlier this week I received in the mail a formal invitation to this event which is a nice item with various photos of different stages of this building as it appeared through the years. When I looked at the back though, I saw this statement: Iowa Building Restoration: It’s about choosing the valuable things of the past to build a future.  Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s what this is all about.