Winfield group trying to give residents something to do
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD — The Winfield Economic Betterment Group is taking Winfield from what used to be a sleepy little town into a place that has plenty of activities for young families.
The group started two years ago when Chris Finnell became mayor of the city and its intent is to improve Winfield’s economy by hosting events for young families and encourage businesses to move to their town.
“Our goal has been to try and target the young people of town and get them some events and things to do,” said Finnell. “There wasn’t a lot to do in town so we have been trying to organize events for the younger crowd. Even though I don’t consider myself young, I still enjoy them. The events are for everyone, really.”
The group is made up of representatives from each organization in Winfield and it also has smaller committees to cater to different needs of the town.
“We have a beautification committee and they have been doing things like getting us the hanging flower pots off of Main Street and they have been doing some work with the garden club,” said Finnell. “They do the aesthetic things, trying to enhance the look of our town.”
“There is also a business development group,” continued Finnell. “What they do is manage the property that the city recently bought and the industrial park. They also try to attract businesses to town. They tried to get a place for a small manufacturing warehouse here in town. It didn’t work out, but we learned a lot through that.”
The group has had events such as the Winfield Stay Active day, which included a bike ride and some games; Winfield Businesses Open House; a Halloween Fest — an all day event with Winfield’s famous Pumpkin Chunkin’ as a highlight; as well as a tailgating event for the Iowa/Iowa State football game. More events are in the works for the group as well as improving on the annual events.
Most of their events have had a higher-than-expected success rate, but one event in particular stands out to Finnell.
“Our Winfield Businesses Open House event is basically a day for all of the businesses in town to open up their doors and people could go and see what they do,” said Finnell. “We had a little map and a competition to encourage people to go see and learn about as many businesses as they could here in town. Whoever had the most points won a prize.
“We had something like 36 businesses open that day,” he continued. “A lot of people said they had no idea there were so many businesses in town. It ended up being a real nice event.”
With the Halloween Fest ending last month, the group is looking to wind down until the start of the new year.
“With the holidays coming up, a lot of churches have suppers and programs and we really don’t want to step on their toes,” said Finnell. “We never want to compete with them, so we will give them their time for that. We will start planning again in January for our events for next year.”
Originally, the plan for the group was to have one event per month, which has yet to happen, but Finnell is optimistic.
“We missed our once per month goal, but we will continue to aim for that,” he said. “The group has done a lot of event planning and events which I think in the long run will be really good for our community.”