County involvement needed to facilitate growth


Limited growth and aging rural population have resulted in a shortage of tech-age skills and out-sourcing, and factors related to Covid-19 have contributed to lack of skilled labor.

On-the-job training and employer paid training/mentoring is a new source of skilled labor. Construction of affordable “entry-level” housing is needed to attract young families with tech-skills.

Our city and county zoning and building codes must be revised to reflect needs and expectations of our youth; first-time and retired home buyers will have to downsize expectations for floorspace and amenities to reduce cost of owning and maintaining a home.

Business owners, developers and contractors will have to understand needs and find efficient methods to repurpose downtown infrastructure – using new techniques for remodeling and new construction including prefab, modular and 3D printing.

Lack of affordable housing is directly related to lack of population growth — and a continuation of economic decline. Jones County has lost 6% of our population since the peak in 1900.

Lack of affordable housing and digital age jobs skills and lack of population growth impacts quality of life and the hopes and dreams of our youth. Countywide involvement is needed to illuminate and respond to these challenges.

Jones County Economic Development has extended this invitation: “You can help! Jones County Economic Development is hosting two focus group sessions this month. The first will be on Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the City Council Chambers in Monticello. The second session will be on Tuesday, Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Lawrence Center in Anamosa.

These meetings will delve a little deeper and try to round out a vision for Jones County and how it fits into the greater Eastern Iowa region.

RSVP to Derek Lumsden at by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15.”

Phil Owen


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