LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU)– The City of Le Mars has a population of more than 10,000 people, and every day thousands of people come from out of town to work. Officials are hoping to promote those workers to Le Mars residents.
“A year ago community leaders decided that we wanna be a little more intentional with our growth and we’d like to get community input and come up with a plan for the next 20 plus years for our community,” said Mark Gaul, the Le Mars community development director.
By the year 2045, city officials hope to increase their population to 20,000 people.
“We wanna be a community where people wanna come to live, work, and play. We’ve had a lot of growth with our existing industry that has created a lot of jobs. You know we estimate there’s 4,200 people driving into Le Mars on a daily basis to work, and we see that as the opportunity to help grow our community,” said Gaul.
To double the current residents, Le Mars officials hope to lure in folks from out of town.
“We focused on economic development; growth in our industrial park, how to lay out our industrial park for the future, and then quality of life amenities you know what type of amenities do we need that will cause people to want to live here, housing what type of housing and where to put it” said Gaul.
However, before people can move into Le Mars Rob Bixenman, the mayor of Le Mars says they are in desperate need of apartments and houses.
“We need rental units, we need studio apartments, to three-bedroom rental apartments. Currently, our stock of housing in Le Mars is so low that if 50 people wanted to move here next month we couldn’t even accommodate that,” said Bixenman.
The city of Le Mars partnered with an engineering company to make this dream a possibility. So far 4 and a half acres of land have been bought for housing projects and they are currently in the process of acquiring another 30 acres. Bixenman says this is only the beginning of the project.
“I’m a fourth generation member of my family to live in this community, not a single instance in there was a business passed down, so there has been an abundance of opportunity and my job is to continue that opportunity for my children and my children’s children,” said Bixenman.
Bixenmen said the city is still in the planning stages, but will continue to buy more land to prepare for the more than 8,500 housing units they hope to build.