Valley View Drive to be Closed Starting on Friday 4/23

Valley View Drive to be Closed Starting on Friday 4/23

Decorah, IA (April 21, 2021) – The City of Decorah is notifying residents that Valley View Drive will be closed starting on Friday, April 23rd. The street will be closed between Highway 52 and the 5th Avenue/Pulpit Rock Road intersection. The closure is to allow for the contractor to start work on the Valley View Drive Improvements Project and is expected to last for 4-5 weeks.

Please call the Street Department at 563-382-2157 with any questions.

This is an official city press release.  Modifications of any kind are prohibited without express written consent of the author.  Any reprint or broadcast of this information must include this entire communication.

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Free Boulevard Tree Giveaway

Decorah, IA (April 14, 2021) 

The City of Decorah is announcing a free boulevard tree giveaway for residents within the City. The City has been gifted 50 trees from the Winneshiek Energy District with the goal of improving the City’s urban canopy. The trees will be planted by volunteers through the Winneshiek Energy District and the City of Decorah Tree Board. The trees range in size from eleven (11) inches to twenty (20) inches in height. Available species include Hackberry and Swamp White Oak. Hackberry trees are fast growing (24” or more per year), have a mature height of 50’-70’, a mature spread of 40’-70’, and yellow color in the fall. Swamp White Oak trees grow at a medium rate (12”-24” per year), have a mature height of 50’-60’, a mature spread of 50’-60’, and a yellow-brown color in the fall. Trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis, while also taking to account species diversity.

If you are interested in receiving a tree for your boulevard, please contact City Forester, Sam Hogenson at 563-277-5153 or by e-mail at and your boulevard will be assessed to ensure setback requirements are met.

This is an official city press release.  Modifications of any kind are prohibited without express written consent of the author.  Any reprint or broadcast of this information must include this entire communication.

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Decorah City Clerk/Treasurer Inducted into ILC Hall of Fame

Wanda Hemesath Iowa League Hall of FameDecorah, IA (September 10, 2020) – The City of Decorah and the Iowa League of Cities announced Wanda Hemesath, Decorah City Clerk / Treasurer has been inducted into the League’s Hall of Fame.

The Iowa League of Cities created the Hall of Fame Award to recognize individuals who have provided extraordinary public service to the League and local government.

Hemesath has served the City of Decorah for more than 40 years and has been actively involved in State level panels, committees, and leadership programs for many years.

One of her greatest passions has been as an advocate for cities in Municipal Fire & Police Retirement System (MFPRSI) Summit discussions, lobbying for reform that is both equitable for cities but also fair for employees. There are few in the State that understand the nuances of Chapter 411 and fewer that truly comprehend the lasting impact of this system on municipalities.

“Few people pour their entire lives into a passion that motivates them with desire to help others, grow and strengthen their communities and improve their organizations. This inductee has continued to exemplify that passion and desire for her community and the city for more than 40 years”, said Larry Nagle, a current public official and Hall of Fame member.

She has been a student of the profession, always learning and engaging and she has become a teacher of the craft, sharing her experiences and skills with so many others. Hemesath has worked for the City of Decorah 41 years. She held several positions within the administrative office and has served in her current capacity the past 26 years.

Hemesath attained the Master Municipal Clerk certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2005 and the Iowa Municipal Clerk certification in 2006. She served on the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association (IMFOA) Executive Board of Directors for 10 years and was the President in 2003. She served on the Iowa League of Cities Curriculum Committee 2010 and 2011. Professional affiliations include International Institute for Municipal Clerks, Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association, Northeast Iowa Clerks Association and the Northeast Iowa Safety Alliance, since 2011 as President. Wanda currently serves on the IMWCA Board of Trustees.

The Iowa League of Cities’ Hall of Fame is not limited to city officials, but includes individuals who have provided exceptional support to city government and extraordinary service to cities in training, education, and development of local leadership, advocating for cities and good local government, and providing exceptional professional assistance and support to cities.

The Iowa League of Cities is the oldest, continuously operating municipal league in the country. Founded in 1898, the League is a not-for-profit organization that advocates for issues affecting cities throughout Iowa. The League provides wide-ranging services for cities including research, workshops, reports, publications, pooled investments and risk management. Decorah is a member of the Iowa League of Cities.

Additional questions may be directed to the office of the City Manager, City Hall, 400 Claiborne Drive, Decorah, IA 52101.


Decorah Parks & Recreation Administrative Coordinator Receives Award

Judy Syverson AwardDecorah, IA (September 10, 2020) – The City of Decorah and the Iowa Parks & Recreation Association announced Judy Syverson, Parks & Recreation Department Administrative Coordinator has been named the Administrative Coordinator of the Year.

The Iowa Parks & Recreation Association created the Administrative Coordinator of the Year award to recognize individuals who have provided extraordinary public service to their departments and the Association.

Syverson has worked for Decorah Parks and Recreation since 1976. She is the first and only person that has ever served as administrative coordinator for the department. Her knowledge of the Department and the parks and programs in Decorah is unparalleled. Syverson exudes a strong work ethic, zest for life, and commitment to the City of Decorah that has propelled the Decorah Parks and Recreation Department to become one of the premier Departments in the Midwest over the last 44 years.

“It has been an absolute honor to work with Judy. Judy is the essence of Decorah Parks & Recreation and her career’s work is exemplary and she is most deserving of this state-wide recognition” notes Parks and Recreation Director, Andy Nimrod.

Syverson recently lead an upgrade to the Department’s online registration program for recreation activities. Judy had created the department’s first ever electronic registration system in 1987 and she jumped at the opportunity to learn something new. Implementing this new system nearly 30 years later, Judy is a staunch supporter of the new system and even played a starring role in a rap video created to promote it on social media! It would have been easy for Judy to have put this new registration system off until after she retired. Her efforts benefit all of customers and users of the ystem and inspire Department staff to keep striving for improvement.

The IPRA is an organization made up of parks and recreation professionals throughout the state of Iowa.

Additional questions may be directed to the Andy Nimrod, Director, Parks & Recreation, 400 Claiborne Drive, Decorah, IA 52101 or 563-382-4158.


Luther College Campus Nominated for National Register of Historic Places

Decorah, IA (August 26, 2020) – The public is invited to comment on the National Register of Historic Places nomination of the Luther College Campus. The nomination will be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Decorah Historic Preservation Commission (DHPC) on Tuesday,September 8, 2020, 2:00 pm, under the Whalen Cabin picnic shelter. The meeting will be outdoors, with mandated social distancing.

The nomination project began in late 2017 as a joint DHPC/Luther College initiative. The process included an initial Site Inventory by DHPC chair Mark Z. Muggli and Luther staff member Ryan Engelman, the hiring of Jan Olive Full as a professional consultant, and the summer 2018 research by more than twenty DHPC, Luther, and local researchers. Full’s complete nomination was accepted by the State Historic Preservation Office in spring 2020.

After the DHPC’s September 8 evaluation, the nomination will be forwarded to the State Nominations Review Committee, and from there to the Department of Interior for final approval.

Said DHPC secretary Judy van der Linden, “It’s a long, complicated process. But that’s what brings integrity to the whole National Register enterprise.”

“Although we’ve changed approaches a couple of times, with the oversight of the State Historic Preservation Office, we’re now quite confident that the nomination will move smoothly through
the state and national evaluations and that the campus will be listed on the National Register by the end of 2020” said DHPC chair Mark Z. Muggli.

Members of the public who wish to study the Luther College Campus nomination to prepare for the September 8 DHPC evaluation, should visit the City’s website at:

Luther College Campus Historic District – Registration Application

For further information contact Mark Z. Muggli, DHPC chair (; 612-720-5795).

This is an official city press release. Modifications of any kind are prohibited without express written consent of the
author. Any reprint or broadcast of this information must include this entire communication.
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Iowa Census “Key to the Future” Challenge

Iowa Census Complete Count Committee launches “Key to the Future” challenge to increase 2020 Census response rates

Wed, 05/27/2020 – 12:15

The State of Iowa’s 2020 U.S. Census Complete Count Committee, formed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, chaired by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and vice-chaired by Secretary of State Paul Pate, is launching a “Key to the Future” response rate challenge for all of Iowa’s 942 cities and 99 counties to boost their 2020 Census response rates.

“From disaster relief to representation in Congress, the Census plays an important role in protecting Iowa’s future,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “Iowans take our civic responsibility seriously and I hope everyone will do their part and participate in the 2020 Census.”

The challenge is based on the 2020 Census Response Rate Map ( is external)), which tracks self-response rates of households at the national, state, and local levels. As of May 25, 2020, Iowa has a response rate of 66.9 percent, with about 990,000 households responding. Iowa ranks No. 3, behind Minnesota (70 percent) and Wisconsin (67.4 percent) and just ahead of Michigan (66.7 percent) and Nebraska (66.5 percent).

“We are challenging every one of our cities and counties to help Iowa become No. 1 in response rates in the nation,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. “We want to count everyone in Iowa because the 2020 Census shapes our future. Census data impacts how we plan and how we make decisions every day.”

Census results inform how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services. The 2020 Census results will impact Iowa for the next 10 years.

Secretary of State Pate said, “Participating in the Census only takes a few minutes and it benefits your local community and the entire state of Iowa. Everybody wins by taking this challenge.”

Self-response rates measure households responding in one of three ways: Online at, by phone (1-844-330-2020), by mailing in paper questionnaires.

Iowa cities and counties are being challenged to meet these goals:

Tier 1 Cities: Populations up to 5,000 – to reach 100 percent count of households

Tier 2 Cities: Populations 5,001 to 50,000 – reach 2010 response rates PLUS 10 percent

Tier 3 Cities: Populations 50,001 and larger – reach 2010 response rates PLUS 10 percent

Iowa counties: Reach 2010 response rates PLUS 10 percent

The State of Iowa Complete Count Committee will recognize each city and county that joins the challenge to boost self-response rates of households in their city. The first city in each of the three tiers and the first county to reach their goals will be recognized with Key to the Future plaques. Each city and county that reaches its goal will receive recognition in news and social media announcements by the State of Iowa Complete Count Committee.

More information on the “Key to the Future” response rate challenge can be found by clicking here.