~ THIS PLACE MATTERS, a column about Jefferson, IA

A column about Jefferson, Iowa
by Colleen O’Brien Clopton
#1, July 7, 2011 Herald

If you have seen signs around town that say THIS PLACE MATTERS, it is no mystery; it is evidence of Jeffersonians picking their spots and advertising to all that this place we call Jefferson, J-Town, Jeff, Jeppernutz and home does indeed matter.

The signs are part of a grassroots movement to revitalize downtown Jefferson both in the rehabilitation of its historic buildings and in its economy – the businesses that can and will inhabit the 50-some beautiful old structures in downtown Jefferson.

The push to rehab this place that matters involves four integrated plans:

  1. Jefferson’s downtown is already designated as a State Historic District, and our bid to be a National Historic district is in the works.
  2. A large group of volunteers is beginning the application process to become a part of Main Street Iowa, which guides small towns in reviving their commercial districts from years of decline. Forty-five Iowa towns are already using Main Street help.
  3. Starting this fall, the city will begin reconstruction on the sidewalks around the courthouse. Next year all sidewalks fronting the businesses around the square will be redesigned and rebuilt.
  4. In a photo series in the Bee and Herald, THIS PLACE MATTERS will be a visual reminisce about a place that indeed matters, individually and collectively.

This latter is a campaign from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to inspire people to champion places that hold memories, inspiration and importance in their lives. This is our chance to champion Jefferson, to volunteer and work on a project worthy of the town and its history, of each of us and our histories.