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Clarion/Goldfield: Plenty of jobs

Wright County seat is looking for qualified help

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Dustin Rief, Clarion city adminstrator, points to the location of a new wastewater treatment plant in Clarion on an aerial map in his office.

CLARION — Plenty of jobs exist in Clarion, according to Dustin Rief, city administrator.

The problem is finding people to take them, he said.

“We have jobs available,” Rief said. “We are just in need of some good qualified candidates. I think our biggest challenge is everyone trying to find qualified people.”

Hagie Manufacturing, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Community School District, Iowa Specialty Hospital, Clarion Mosaic, North Central Cooperative and Clarion Packaging are among the largest employers in Clarion.

On the same hand, Clarion’s unemployment rate declined in 2016, Rief reported.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Clarion’s unemployment rate declined in 2016, according to Rief.

“We have had a couple of business closings, but our employment rate is lower this year than it was last year countywide,” he said.

Rief added that the town has seen a shift in its population.

“We have had a large changeover in population,” Rief said. “We can see that based on our water meter deposits. That’s an indicator that we have had some population movement.”

According to Rief, Clarion remains a strong importer of jobs in spite of its size.

“We still have a lot of people traveling here for work,” he said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Four houses are finished in the White Fox Landing subdivision in Clarion, according to Dustin Rief, city administrator. Of the 23 lots in phase one, 19 are still available, he said.

To help keep more people in the area, the city has placed an emphasis on housing.

White Fox Landing, a housing development in the northeast corner of the city is finished.

“There is four houses complete and people living in the development,” Rief said. “There is also some prospect of houses on the south part of the development.”

The project has been a priority throughout the past 10-plus years, but has made significant process in recent years.

“There will be future phases of the development,” Rief said. “This was just phase one. The initial work was pretty significant.”

Phase one includes 23 lots.

Rief said of those 23, 19 are still available.

Another project that is near completion is a $6.8 million wastewater treatment facility.

“We are 90-95 percent complete on that,” Rief said.

Rief said the wastewater plant is a SAGR system.

“Basically we added a four acre lagoon and added a system on the backside that uses biology, or bugs as we call them, to take away nitrogen to produce cleaner water through a treatment process.”

“Everything is working as it’s supposed to currently,” Rief added. “That’s exactly what we were hoping for.”

The project was started in August 2015.

The plant is located on the southwest edge of town, Rief said.

The Clarion water tower also recently got a fresh coat of paint.

Goldfield

GOLDFIELD — The school building in Goldfield could be transformed into apartments sometime in the future, according to Bryce Davis, Wright County economic development director.

“We are looking for ways to repurpose the building because the school (Clarion – Goldfield -Dows) is looking to transition the facility elsewhere and off their books,” Davis said.

If the building is repurposed, the gymnasium area will likely stay.

The gymnasium is currently being used for recreation, according to Barbara Jergenson, Goldfield city clerk.

“The school uses it for grade school basketball tournaments,” Jergenson said. “People can also rent the multipurpose room for the gym.”

Jergenson said a new roof was also put on the gynmasium in the summer of the 2016.

The school building was originally built in 1956.

In 1993, Goldfield merged with Clarion to form the Clarion-Goldfield Community School District.

Davis said similar projects have taken place around the area with school buildings that are underutilized.

“The Dows school was repurposed,” he said. “A private individual owns that now. It just costs too much money to tear down and it needs to start generating taxes. What makes the most sense for the community is what we are looking at.”

As of now, the project is only being discussed.

“We are going through our due diligence on it,” Davis said. “We are looking for anything we need to be aware of. We have engaged some people and they have shown some interest, so we need to see if they would be willing to proceed with the project.”

There’s no timetable on when the project will happen.

New playground equipment is also expected to be installed in Goldfield’s city park.

“We are still working on our playground equipment,” Jergenson said. “It’s in storage right now.”

Jergenson said they will combine the new equipment with some of the old equipment.

The playground equipment cost $45,358.

The Goldfield Women’s Club did the bulk of the work raising the money for the equipment, Jergenson said.

“They worked so hard raising the money for the equipment,” Jergenson said.

The new equipment is expected to be installed sometime in the spring.

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