Rockwell City: New square

A little inconvenience resulted in great downtown

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen The downtown renovation project in Rockwell City was completed before the onset of winter. The four sides of the square were repaved and the underlying infrastructure replaced.

ROCKWELL CITY — When a visitor to Rockwell City drives around the city square — with the Calhoun County Courthouse and the Calhoun County Freedom Rock on display — one thing they’ll quickly notice is what they’re not noticing.

There are no longer any potholes, patches or bits of decaying pavement — its a nice smooth ride.

That nice smooth ride leads to plenty of diagonal parking spaces and once they’re out of their vehicle and on their way into one of the town’s shops, a nice wide smooth sidewalk.

Of course, the infrastructure project didn’t just include the pavement. The underground utilities have also been upgraded.

Rockwell City Mayor Phil Heinlen had some good news about the project.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Rockwell City library director Denise Pohl checks out one of the computers in her library recently. They were recently able to upgrade their internet service to a fiber optic system.

“That finished last fall,” he said. “It came in on schedule.”

Heinlen said that public feedback on the project has been positive.

“It’s been really good,” he said.

He said the new square should serve residents well.

“It’s very serviceable infrastructure that will last a lot of years.” he said.

He said that most of the business owners and operators he’s talked to have given the project good ratings as well. Some of them, during construction, had to use alternative accesses such as their back doors, but everyone came through the construction period with their doors still open for business.

He hopes the new streets help attract potential businesses to downtown Rockwell City.

“I think so,” he said. “We were down to gravel in some spots. This is nice infrastructure, it’s nice looking.”

He said he’s now proud to show off his town’s downtown to visitors.

In addition, he said Rockwell City may soon be getting a new daycare center. He said a local resident is renovating a building and that he expects it to be open by the start of the 2017-18 school year.

The downtown infrastructure project has also helped the Rockwell City Public Library; it is located along the northwest corner of the square.

Library Director Lisa Pohl said they made an upgrade.

“We just switched over to fiber optic internet,” she said. “It’s faster than we had and it has the potential to be superfast; we’re looking to the future.”

She said that digital services are in high demand by the library patrons. Many of them will come in with their own devices to take advantage of the library’s free Wi-Fi.

It even gets used after regular hours.

“We keep our wireless open 24/7,” she said. “We see people sitting out front in their cars using it. Sometimes their schedule just doesn’t work with ours.”

The library was one of the Rockwell City buildings that had to use an alternative entry during the construction.

“We had to use our back door,” she said. “It didn’t slow down anyone.”

Demand for online services, such as e-books, is on the rise too.

“They constantly go up every month,” she said.

The community’s children also had a chance during the past year to do some construction of their own.

“We had a Lego club,” she said. “We got a whole ton of Legos. We went every other week for three months; each session we would give them a challenge.”

For example, they might have to build a device to get themselves off an imaginary planet. Both spaceships and time machines worked for that.

The Lego bricks are still there, awaiting the next series of Lego Club meetings.

Of course, filing Lego by the Dewey Decimal system isn’t practical. Another method is.

“I’m a librarian,” she said. “They’re organized by color.”