‘Our place’ is Marshalltown

According to some sources, a petunia can symbolize not giving up hope. I find this symbolism rather fitting for the downtown Marshalltown community. After being forced by COVID to take a year off, our beloved petunias will once again line our Main Street from Third Street to Third Avenue. Ninety-six baskets full of hope will uplift our downtown.

Jeff Siegler wrote on the May 21 “Revitalize, or Die” social media post, “There is one thing that everyone in your town shares. Your place. Every company, every non-profit, every resident, every institution, every labradoodle. They all have your place in common. The same views, the same drinking water, the same weather, the same landscape, the same government, the same downtown, the same businesses and so on. They are limited or lifted by the location in which they find themselves planted. Therefore, it is probably in everyone’s best interest to work together to improve it.”

Our place is Marshalltown.

The Marshalltown Central Business District continually receives overwhelmingly positive feedback for coordinating the hanging flower baskets. The flower baskets lift people’s spirits, helping to reduce the feeling of stress of the day to day grind. The splash of color adds vibrancy and a sense of community to the downtown. This year’s flower baskets efforts were led by MCBD Design Chair Travis Hornberg.

The 96 petunia baskets, or rather the 96 baskets of hope are made possible by generous donations, then cared for and tended by volunteers who have decided to come together and work for the best interest of the community. These community minded individuals are often the same folks who serve and donate to other causes in the community. I’m certain that at one point in these folks’ lives, they were anxious about stepping out of their comfort zone, but along the way they mustered some courage to have a new experience and work for the betterment of the community. With these new experiences, new friendships grew and community goals were achieved. We thank these fine folks for being believers and doers.

Although Marshalltown has plenty to be proud of — the list is near endless — there is always room for improvement and growth. We are coming upon the three-year anniversary of surviving an EF3 tornado, just rounded the one-year anniversary of COVID life, and in August the one-year anniversary of pulling together after the derecho will be upon us. In crisis, this community has demonstrated we understand it’s in our best interest to work together, but we don’t have to only do this in crisis.

The MCBD is honored to network and partner with many community organizations. We all share in “our place.” I have hope — 96 baskets of it — that since as a society we are leaning more toward getting back to normal life, that more people who share in “our place” will step forward to volunteer, either with the MCBD or other community organizations. We, as a community, have had to pivot and re-plan for nearly three years now. If we want more, then we need to do more. We can’t just leave it to a few to get the work done. We have got to take ownership, and not wait for someone else to do it.

The MCBD has volunteer opportunities that take as little time as a few hours, one to two times a year, to ongoing planning and implementation of downtown revitalization efforts, and everywhere in between. Currently, we are planning for downtown events. These events are to help bring an experience, and to boost our community’s quality of life. If you have an interest in volunteering with the MCBD, you may contact us by calling 641-844-2001, or by emailing director@marshalltownmainstreet.org.


Deb Millizer is the executive director of the

Marshalltown Central Business District.


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