Friday, September 29, 2006

What makes a "Great Place?"

I mentioned in passing this morning that 12 finalists have been selected to receive the next round of awards in the "Iowa Great Places" giveaway contest sweepstakes lottery blowout...

Ok, I can't find the right word, so let's start over.

The Register has the list of twelve places vying to be one of Iowa's next "Great Places," and the projects they hope to fund with the money attached.

By my count, 5 are in NE Iowa, 1 is in SW Iowa, 3 are in central Iowa, 1 is in north central Iowa, and 1 is in SE Iowa. There's only one west of I-35, and if you use I-35 and I-80 to divide the state into quadrants, only three fall outside the NE quadrant.

Location aside, though, the question remains: What makes a great place? I've read the 12 project descriptions from the Register, and my initial reaction is the following:

I'm inclined not to support places that will use the money to add on to and combine two existing for-profit businesses, as Mason City has proposed to do.

With less than $300,000 to spend, I'm reluctant to support places that plan to use the money for more than 4-5 different purposes, as Adams County, Dubuque, Valley Junction and Warren County have proposed to do.

That brings us down to seven. I'm also reluctant to give all three awards to the NE corner of the state, but Appanoose, Decorah, Guttenberg and Jackson county are all still on my list.

How about you? Where do you think the money should go?


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