SIBLEY—U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) visited Sibley on Thursday, May 30, meeting with city leaders about various projects in the works and touring downtown businesses.
King first arrived at Sibley City Hall, where he met with city administrator and economic development director Glenn Anderson, city clerk Susan Sembach and chamber of commerce executive director Ashley Ackerman.
Anderson told King about plans for a city renovation project that would redo streets along four blocks downtown.
He said engineers will visit with leaders of city departments in June to discuss options. The public also would have a chance to vote on which style of pavement they would like to have put in.
Anderson led King along Third Avenue, which is one of the streets the city is considering rehabilitating.
Anderson, Sembach and Ackerman then took the congressman to The Porch on Main Ice Cream & Gift Shop and The Lantern Coffeehouse & Roastery, where he met with constituents and spoke with store employees and owners.
King spoke with The Porch on Main employee Allison Ackerman, whose mother owns the store, about a range of topics, including farming around Sibley. He also reflected on the impact the farm crisis of the 1980s had on young Iowans who grew up on farms during that time.
“They got the message, ‘There’s no future for you here,’” King said, adding that many young people were advised to pursue a college degree instead of remaining on their family farms.
At The Lantern, King greeted customers and spoke with Brenda and Gene Hoyer, who operate the coffee shop that also functions as a nonprofit ministry.
While speaking with Gene, King reflected on the mutual support conservative candidates and lawmakers show each other and the support they lend to President Donald Trump.
“We come out, we see these candidates, we cheer for the things we believe in,” King said.
“And those candidates get it,” he added. “And then they fight for Trump, who was, you know, just a nonideological candidate.”
King later visited different development sites in southeast Sibley as well as the town’s newly rehabilitated pool which is set to open on June 8.
Anderson showed him two building units near the Osceola Electric Cooperative, the lots for which were bought for $1 apiece by two business owners in Sibley through a tax increment financing arrangement. The TIF arrangement would redirect future property tax revenue increases from the developed sites to invest in local nonprofits, he explained.
“So you’ve got an investment fund that’s been fed by the progress of growth in the city,” King said.
Anderson said the first lot belonged to Aletha Boer, who operates A+ Painting and plans to donate money generated from the TIF to a local nonprofit day care. The second building belongs to Brett Doeden, who owns MBN Brothers Pallets. Anderson said Doeden plans to donate the money from his lot to the Sibley event center.
King finished his visit to the Osceola County seat community with a tour of the Sibley Outdoor Aquatic Center.
Cory Dykstra, the water superintendent for Sibley and the project manager for the pool rehabilitation, told King the pool still is a work in progress but he hoped it would be finished Monday.
“We’re just putting the finishing touches on it,” Dykstra said.
He pointed out changes that were done to the bathhouse, such as the doorways which were redone, and changes to the pool area itself.
Dykstra said they tried to include features to the pool that appealed to every age group, including a shallow area that was added for young children.