A statewide advocacy group that’s dedicated to protecting Iowa’s rivers and streams has selected Charles City as its “River Town of the Year.” Charles City Mayor Jim Erb says he’s hoping to share his town’s success with other communities.

“It’s great news because it gives us a chance to tell our story on a statewide level,” Erb said of the award. “We’re trying to present the community and our relationship with the river…it’s a success story and we want to get that success story out to the entire state of Iowa.”

Iowa Rivers Revival board chairman Jerry Peckumm praised the actions of Charles City leaders – who he said chose to embrace the city’s connection with the Cedar River in response to recent devastating floods. Erb said those actions included transforming a low-head dam into the popular WhiteWater at Riverside Park. Work at the park continues.

“The main components are in place,” Erb said. “What we are going to have to work on next is a series of things involving parking, restroom facilities and an entrance to the park…the support facilities.” Finding money for those amenities, Erb admitted, will be a challenge.

Charles City will be recognized as “River Town of the Year” at a couple of receptions; on Friday February 3rd at 10:30 a.m. in the Charles City Public Library and again Monday February 13th in Des Moines.

By Chris Berg, KCHA, Charles City