Community visioning draws crowd

Nearly 65 Hawarden residents, city staff and council joined together to set a vision for Hawarden on Tuesday, Oct. 23.


HAWARDEN—The community has spoken. Seven goals have been identified for the community to tackle in the next five years.

About 65 Hawarden citizens identified those goals during the community vision meeting Tuesday,  Oct. 23. 

The session began with an introduction from presenters Jane Goeken, community development specialist for Iowa State Extension Office of Spencer, and Eric Christianson, field specialist with Iowa State Extension Office of Cedar Rapids.

ISU Extension leads community visioning

Eric Christianson and Jane Goeken with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Office look at the board of goals citizens brought to the community visioning.


“This kind of meeting is one of my favorite things to do, getting the community together to move forward in a way the citizens actually want,” Christianson said. 

Ground rules were set for the meeting first and foremost. Being open-minded, respectful of opinions, staying focused, keeping it simple and not straining current businesses were among those set. 

The last time the community had a visioning session was in 2010. 

People in attendance raised their hands with examples of good developments that have happened or are happening in Hawarden since that meeting. Among those were the Hawarden Regional Healthcare remodel, Big Sioux Recreation Area development, upgrades to the Hawarden Public Library and the community’s playground equipment, the addition of the teen center, an excellent school system and last years state football championship.

Each individual was instructed to write down five to seven items they would like improved or done in the community throughout the next five years.

“Working together is the only way to get things done.” Christianson said. “So when you are writing things down, think about the fact that you need to write things you will actually be able to push through.”

Those in attendance sat at round tables at which Christianson asked people to talk over each person’s list, collaborate and decide the three main issues that table believes was most important. 

Afterward, Goeken put up a big board filled with various categories. Citizens were given two stickers to place on the categories they thought were the most significant. The top five receiving stickers were:

1. More businesses and jobs

2. Creating and improving housing options

3. Improving parks and recreation

4. Community involvement

5. Three-way tie between investing in youth, public safety and appealing downtown.

To implement these goals by 2023, committees were formed for all seven topics. The groups along with city staff and council plan to meet throughout the next several months to keep the visioning plan moving forward and on track for its five-year goal.