Sometimes, you have to look back to see where you've been to see how far you've gone.
That could well be the theme of the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting Tuesday night at the Estherville Golf Course. Chamber and Estherville Industrial Development Corporation members told of past - and current - progress on community initiatives.
"The heart and soul of a community is its central business district," said Lyle Hevern, EIDC president pointing to Library Square and the surrounding area. However, Hevern also lamented the loss of such landmarks as the railroad depot, the old Elks building and the old Grande Theatre.
Hevern said the EIDC is now lining up financial partners for the former Sievert's/Penney's building restoration at 12 S. Sixth St. Hevern said Excel! Estherville is allocating local option sales tax money over the next 10 years with assistance also coming from the City of Estherville, EIDC and the Emmet County Board of Supervisors.
Hevern said a new roof will first be put on the building as a restoration committee forms.
Hevern said EIDC will work with the Iowa Lakes Corridor to develop a second-story program to help develop startup companies.
Bob Jensen, Excel! Estherville chair, said the organization's biggest goal is to have cooperative matching efforts. "That way we figure we can double our reach," said Jensen, offering a long list of accomplishments.
"A lot of things are going on in town right now. And these are not little projects," Jensen said. Just two of those projects - restoration of the Central Avenue bridge and the Sievert building - are pegged at $500,000 each.
"Nearly every one of these projects has been a community effort," Jensen said.
"We're going to be that great town," said Lexie Ruter, chamber executive director. "And I'm really lucky to be a part of it."