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Tama County fails to receive re-designation as an Iowa Great Places following review

July 21, 2019
By Katherine Ollendieck - Tama County Economic Development Executive Director , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and Iowa Great Places Citizens Board extended its appreciation to the Tama County Economic Development Commission for their application seeking re-designation for Tama County as an Iowa Great Place. The review panel and board felt that Tama County's goals are commendable; however, the application was not selected for re-designation.

Applications for re-designation as an Iowa Great Place undergo review by a volunteer panel of Iowa Great Places Citizen Advisory Board Members and state department partners.

Quality Of Projects Recognized

Article Photos

Katherine Ollendieck
Tama County Economic Development Executive Director

The Board was impressed by the quality of the projects that have been completed within Tama County; however, the application and the site visit read as a collection of organizations and projects rather than cohesive vision for the county.

The evaluation comments stated the site visit was very professional and well-executed. The board members and staff appreciated the enthusiasm and passion for the community that was evident by everyone involved. Tama County would benefit immensely from a county-wide visioning effort to identify assets, goals, and next steps as a regional community.

This is disappointing news, but the tourism partners in Tama County are determined to continue their hard work to further develop their recreational, cultural, and visitor resources.

I commend their efforts and believe this evaluation confirmed my impressions. Our communities have developed local resources that make our lives richer and fun, and they attract visitors.

These businesses, attractions, and destinations add to the rich fabric in our county and they increase local spending. What we must work toward is a big picture. This evaluation highly recommended we further develop our comprehensive county tourism plan if we plan to reapply to the Great Places program.

At first, I felt frustrated that our county team had done such a great job during the application process and two-hour site evaluation, yet we had fallen short. With time to reflect, I've realized this evaluation shows us a path and if we work on these steps we can help enhance and support these valuable local resources and businesses. Working harder will only make us more polished and prepared to serve our local residents and capture visitor dollars in Tama County.



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