Decorah City Administrator Chad Bird addressed a crowd of approximately 100 managers at the Iowa City/County Management Association Summer Conference Thursday morning at the Hotel Winneshiek. Bird's presentation, "The One that Got Away: Lessons learned from development deals that fell short," focused on the City's development discussions with Menards.
Bird led a panel discussion featuring Winneshiek County Development Director Stephanie Fromm, City Attorney John Anderson, and Engineer Lindsay Erdman of Erdman Engineering. All panelists agreed they learned a lot from the Menards experience. "If we did it over, we would do some things differently," said Anderson.
Fromm said when she first got the call about Menards, she and others quickly came up with a game plan to set things in motion, but Menards pulled out before they had time to get everything in order. "The timing was off," said Fromm.
When asked by an audience member if there is a chance Menards will come to Decorah sometime in the future, Bird said, "Stephanie and I reach out to Menards frequently, and they haven't told us to stop calling yet."
Other speakers at the conference included Decorah Fire Chief Mike Ashbacher, Toppling Goliath General Manager Curt Wymer, Decorah City Engineer Jeremy Bril and Safe Routes to Schools Associate April Bril.