As 2021 draws to a close, Kalona Mayor Mark Robe takes a look in the rearview mirror at all that’s been happening in the community.
According to the 2020 census, the city saw its population increase by 11.3%, from 2,363 to 2,630 inhabitants. The Kalona Community Center has seen a steady increase in usage and membership. In 2021, the city did a complete overhaul of the racquetball court floor, resurfaced the basketball court, and added new equipment such as ropes, sleds, and other fitness class accessories. The city has also seen an increase in swimming pool use and participation in recreational sports
Housing expansion was a priority this year, as development in the Southtown area on the former Shiloh complex has already seen its first occupants. Eighty-five residential lots were added to the area with six houses built. In 2022 they are looking to add a 1.5 mile walking trail, dog park, 9 hole disc golf course, public fishing access and nature park. Robe congratulates townspeople after completing a productive year: “I think we have a really good community. We have very good people living in our community. Just keep doing what you’re doing and being a good resident of Kalona. If there is anything that you think needs to be resolved, please come to the city council and let us know. That’s why we’re here, that’s why you elected us. If there’s a problem, bring it to us, that’s why we’re here. We have a very good municipal council that listens to people and if we can do something, we will certainly do it.
Robe is grateful for municipal grants from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation that help fund projects such as the Southtown area and ADA improvements to the city park. He says that looking ahead to 2022, City Council will work with Carl A. Nelson on facility needs assessments for the Kalona Fire Hall and First Responders Building. You can learn more about Robe during a two-part JJ Nichting Company In Touch with Southeast Iowa program.