An annual “River Town of the Year” award will be presented this morning to the tiny northeast Iowa town of Elgin.
Jen Dreier is with Iowa Rivers Revival, a nonprofit group working to improve the condition of Iowa waterways. “The River Town of the Year award really tries to highlight a city or town’s work to enhance its connections to the river for both economic development, recreation, and ecological practices. Elgin and the Turkey River Watershed have done all of those things,” Dreier said.
The award ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Dotzy’s Restaurant and Saloon in Elgin. The event will be followed by tour of Turkey River-related sites and features.
The community will get some additional recognition next Wednesday in Des Moines. “We will have an event at the State Capitol where we invite all of the legislators to come in and we do another brief awards ceremony and give information on Elgin there as well,” Dreier said. “So, they’ll have a moment to showcase their town at the Capitol.”
Officials with Iowa Rivers Revival are praising Elgin and the surrounding area for developing a biking and walking path along the Turkey River and turning a nearly 100-mile stretch of the river into a state-designated water trail.
Dreier noted several cities in northeast Iowa are taking advantage of rivers to attract tourists. Manchester, Charles City, and Elkader are among the past winners of the River Town of the Year award. “It seems like it’s really taking off up there,” Dreier said. “People are seeing that not only can they do good work for the river, they can also turn that into some economic development for their small towns.”
Elgin, located in eastern Fayette County, has a population of around 700 residents.
(photo courtesy of Northeast Iowa RC&D)