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For One Small Town, The Recovery From The 2019 Flood Hasn't Stopped

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40 percent of Iowans live outside a metro area. For these small towns, what are they doing to survive and thrive amid trends of population loss?

Pacific Junction sported 471 residents in 2010. But following the 2019 flooding experienced across western Iowa, the small town has only become smaller. Only 84 residents remain — an 82 percent decrease.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Pacific Junction's mayor and clerk about how FEMA grants have made building back difficult.

"You've got two choices, either rebuild or you take the buyout that FEMA was giving you, you know?" said Mayor Andy Young. "Those who did not want to do that (rebuild), they went for the buyout."

Later, Nebbe speaks with Lyle Muller, board member and retired executive director of IowaWatch, about his recent series with Pat Kinney looking at small towns and what it takes for them to survive and thrive. Finally, she hears from Liesl Seabert about her work managing the governor's Empower Rural Iowa Initiative to build housing, development and leadership in small towns.

Guests:

  • Andy Young, mayor of Pacific Junction
  • Corina Neppl, city clerk of Pacific Junction
  • Lyle Muller, retired executive director and current board member of IowaWatch
  • Liesl Seabert, manages the Iowa governor's Empower Rural Iowa Initiative
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Zachary Oren Smith is a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River