Newton moving into new era

Newton moving into new era
Date June 13, 2005
Section(s) Opinion
Editor’s Note: The following letter to the editor was sent to the Wall Street Journal by Newton Mayor Chaz Allen following a story printed by the paper concerning the sale of the Maytag Corp., to a private investment firm. An edited version of the letter ran in the Journal on Friday.

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in regard to the Friday, May 27, article “Town Fears Being Hung Out to Dry by Maytag Sale.” Although the future of Maytag is unknown, there are many knowns within Newton that show promise and opportunity for a future as successful as Newton’s past.

One of the misconceptions about Newton involves the housing market. The unknowns surrounding Maytag have created a myth that houses are selling for less and the town will become a “ghost town.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Last year Newton’s real estate market had its best year ever. Yes, more houses entered the market for sale but more houses were sold than in any previous year since records have been kept. I don’t have to remind readers that buyers determine a market, not sellers. Our real estate is selling. Price is another indicator of a market. Our prices are appreciating at a modest rate.

Another indicator of Newton’s future is private investment into our community. Over the past three years, Newton has received more than $100 million invested into our community. This is a staggering number for a community our size that shows confidence in the future of our community. Fourteen million dollars have been spent on urban renewal projects, $20 million on new commercial projects from grocery stores to auto dealerships, millions on business expansion and finally our $70 million motorsports complex.

Newton is on the cusp of a paradigm change like no other the State of Iowa has seen. In the coming months, construction will begin on the motorsports complex that will create a bustling retail and tourism destination adjoining our recently renovated and expanded airport next to Interstate 80. This is not only a destination for Iowa but for the entire Midwest. Even the Iowa Legislature has shown strong support for this motorsports complex passing by an overwhelming margin a sales tax rebate bill that will benefit this project. The fruits of our labor will become apparent in the fall of 2006. This project will only add to our successful base of manufacturing, promotional product distribution, telecommunications and transportation.

In closing, my purpose is to focus not only the people of Newton but also those hearing about Newton for the first time on our future, not our past. As Newton moves forward into a new era, check back with us — we saved a place for you.

Charles Allen

Newton Mayor


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