Councilwoman says everyone has a role to play – Letter to the Editor

Opinion

Dear Editor:

Fort Madison has a great many things going for it, history being one. Old Fort Madison has suffered greatly during the floods and even vandalism through the years.  What can help it recover and attract even more outside guests? Volunteers and local support. Call Dr. Watkins and ask what you can do to help.  When family visits from out of town, invite them to tour.  Every dollar helps and those can include local dollars. 
The Old ISP is not in a position to offer public tours. If an outside investor can be found then that story may change. (I refer interested parties to the Historic Structures Report written by Mead Hunt that describes the facility conditions and investment needed for development.)  The City is not in a position to acquire that property or operate it as a tourism draw. 
Our streets are slowly being addressed.  In a perfect world they could all be done in one season. But that is not practical for construction, transportation or financial sake. However, the City has allocated an additional $150,000 towards street projects.  Not to include the separate funds used for business 61 projects.  Things are moving forward.  Patience is required.
The FMAAA operates independently of the City control. Many cities across the state have successful art galleries. The FMAAA Board will need to make a decision to either change direction or stay the course. 
I caution everyone against rumors. There are no grand conspiratorial ‘powers that be’ that have decided tourism is not worth the investment. Rather there are are numerous entities that affect the success of our city:  City Council, associated Boards (Parks, Airport, etc), the county, how they spend the tax dollars they collect from our residents, downtown businesses, other groups such FM Partners, non-profits and Lee County Historical Society play a role in our overall town success. I encourage anyone/everyone to reach out to the City to offer to serve on a board or commission or the Partner’s group to volunteer/donate and shop downtown!  
The time to wait for others to solve our problems is over. We, as residents of our community, all need to take pride and help out. If you cannot volunteer city wide, how about cleaning up your city block?  Are weeds trimmed? Is garbage picked up?  Are trees/shrubs cut back from being overgrown? Every effort makes a difference. 
I am always available for discussion, call 371-7753, text, email or through my FaceBook page. Reach out.
Let’s do this!  #fortmadisonstrong
Rebecca Bowker
FM City Council First Ward

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