2019 will be a year of REBUILDING

Many things happened in Marshalltown in 2018­ ­– the July 19 tornado being the most prolific of all the events. Our town showed resiliency and unselfish giving. Marshalltown Strong was the theme of the year.

Days after the tornado, we wrote that much of Marshalltown’s history would be divided into pre-tornado and post-tornado eras. Thus far, we have gotten by. We have coped with the circumstances and taken care of the most immediate needs. Plans have been made in rebuilding efforts, but much of that work is still ahead of us.

As we write the history of the post-tornado era, 2019 will be a big year. It will be the first year to truly focus on rebuilding. It’s our opportunity to make Marshalltown better than it was before and to continue helping those who lost so much in the storm.

Focuses on housing, downtown business and public buildings will be among the many challenges local leaders and citizens alike face this next year. We encourage you to stay engaged with the rebuilding whether that be through monetary donations, giving of time or input in important discussions.

Looking back at 2018 offers much to reflect on. We also have much to look forward to. The next phase of the Roundhouse and the new public safety facility are some of the many public projects that will make Marshalltown better for its residents while also attracting newcomers. The 13th Street District will continue to grow in the private sector. Development post-tornado and changes to our local hospital will also be things to keep an eye on.

The best part about Marshalltown is we all can make a difference in how our new year turns out.

Here are three things you can do to help Marshalltown in 2019:

1) Help with tornado recovery. Many challenges still await our community post-July 19. Be ready to offer a helping hand and remember to be patient in this long process.

2) Spend your money locally when possible (which includes businesses, health care and non-profits).

3) Stay engaged. Read the news, attend government meetings, volunteer and be a good citizen in all your interactions.

The Times-Republican will continue to commit to sharing stories about all these efforts and offering a platform for civil discourse.