Appreciating Iowa's countryside

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Those Iowan's fortunate to live in the rural countryside of our State know what they have in the natural beauty, attractiveness and cleanliness of their homesteads, residences and surrounding land.

Many of these Iowan's take the extra effort to show the pride in the place that they own and live. As we travel the roadways of rural Iowa the natural beauty of the countryside is enhanced by the many attractive farm sites and residences. All of us appreciate the extra work that rural residents put into their homes and property. That effort also results in providing an attractive pastoral and pleasant image to visitors -- a sign that Iowan's care.

There are however, some instances in which we need to encourage and support the improvement of properties. There are a few blemishes on the landscape. These tend to be the properties that are abandoned or that do not have someone living on them.

In other instances the properties may be rented out and the renter does not share in the desire to maintain a place of pride. In some instances the properties have abandoned wells that need to be properly capped to prevent environmental problems to the ground water. Many have unpainted buildings or structures in need of repair.

In still other instances the properties contain a value in terms of potential recyclable materials like steel, iron and wood. Some instances reflect properties that appear to be illegal dump sites and public nuisance areas.

Several of the properties may contain historic or architecturally unique structures that need to be evaluated for the potential for preservation or at a minimum careful documentation before razing them.

In any event -- we need to support those doing the "right" thing by maintaining clean and attractive properties. We need to help those not quite as enthusiastic about improvements to the land and property that they own.

Let's consider ways to thank the jewels that sparkle across the countryside and take the tarnish off those properties that don't enhance our rural landscape beauty. We can set an example for the nation.

(Gerald F. Schnepf, Executive Director, Keep Iowa Beautiful, Web Page: www.keepiowabeautiful.com)