GILMORE CITY - In 2012, Gilmore City saw a number of changes that city officials said will have a positive impact on the future.
Among the changes included Richard "Putter" Jergens taking office as the town's mayor.
Jergens, who had previously been a member of the Gilmore City Council for 25 years, said the transition was a "learning experience."
-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Ron Hjelmeland, left, of Humboldt, and Danny Frederiksen, of Gilmore City, have a chat after their breakfast at PJ’s Diner in Gilmore City. The diner was recently purchased by Paul and Jenny Fields, who moved to Gilmore City from Tucson, Ariz.
He said one of the first orders of business he oversaw was the formation of a committee for the Keep Iowa Beautiful project.
"We thought it would be nice for us to take part in it," he said. "I think we'll be able to get a lot done about cleaning up the town."
Jergens said the town also celebrated the building of a new fire station.
"It's been a big asset to our town," he said. "They had been running out of room in the old station because they were upgrading their equipment. The old building just wasn't big enough."
Other work within the town includes new sewer work.
"We're realigning a big part of our sewer system, which will help our town a great deal," he said. "We have more to do yet, but we can only do so much with what we've got."
Jergens said the biggest challenge of the year was finding money for different projects.
"We're suffering from the erosion of our infrastructure from age," he said. "But like every little town, we have challenges with our finances. We're in the process of getting everything fixed as a team."
Jergens said if money wasn't an issue, they would fix all the infrastructure issues that were present within the community.
Though finances are tight, Jergens said there is good news coming to the town for 2013.
"Calcium Products is moving their headquarters office into the old Catholic Church's school building," he said. "They'll probably be adding about four or five jobs within town, and we expect they'll be a great asset to the community."
The town's cafe also underwent a change of ownership this past year when Paul and Jenny Fields bought the restaurant.
Paul Fields said he spent 30 years working in fast food and decided to try his hand at owning the cafe.
Fields said he and his wife moved from Tucson, Ariz., to be closer to family in the area.
"Our biggest sellers are the burgers," he said. "The best-seller is the All-American, which is a third-pound burger with your choice of cheese, relish and a grilled hot dog."
Fields said he and his wife have been expanding the menu to include hot sandwiches as well as dessert items.
"We're trying to bring that hometown feeling here," he said. "The town has really supported us."
Already, the couple has expanded the restaurant's hours to be open on Sunday. In March, they plan on opening for dinner Friday nights.
"We're enjoying life," Paul Fields said. "We love the hometown feel, and we're always willing to help anybody in the community."