Opportunity is now here


by Gwen Pearson

Change is inevitable in a growing world. That concept is the same all over, including in the local PCM community. At the present time, the most pressing matters come from deep within the PCM district, meaning that a majority of the changes will be happening in either Monroe or Prairie City. The first new development is in Monroe.
“Right now we’re working on a big water main project that is going to start around April,” Kim Thomas, city clerk of Monroe, said. “It’ll take about $750,000 to complete it.”
It’s no surprise that the water mains need to be changed out every once in a while, but they aren’t the only changes being made in the small town. The recreational complex on the southwest side of town is growing, albeit slowly. So far the only things that make up the complex are baseball and soccer fields, but the city plans to add to it as much as they can in the next few phases of construction. In the next stage a pond will be constructed within the park to help make the place feel like a part of nature. Stage two won’t start for a year or two yet, seeing as the amount of donation money hasn’t been met yet. A majority of the money for the recreational park comes from donations from the public.
Smaller changes will be made in Prairie City, though they might not necessarily be made right away. According to Manny Toribio, city administrator of Prairie City, there are no plans for future additions or extensions of the town. Though, with the continual growth of the town, there have been talks about possible extensions to the library and developing a municipal center. The municipal center would house public works, the fire department, emergency services and some police. There was also a rumor floating around that a water park was going to be placed somewhere around Prairie City, but there is no truth to this. The idea had been discussed by previous councils, but the current elected officials have decided against it. Even though there is not going to be a water park for community members, there is another recreational plan to look forward to.
“I am excited to be a part of the trail committee, which is working on acquiring the railroad right-of-way for a future trail to run from Mitchellville to Monroe,” Toribio said, “I believe this will offer many patrons the opportunity to experience Prairie City and Jasper County.”
Currently, a bike trail is supposed to run from Lake Red Rock to Mitchellville upon completion. Only a small portion of the trail has been finished so far, starting in Monroe and stopping about halfway to Prairie City. The trail is not paved, but it will be once all of it has been laid out.
In 2013, the Iowa Transportation Commission approved $1,304,133 in total funding for six federal Recreational Trails Program projects, one of which was given to continue the trail from Mitchellville to Prairie City with $450,599 to complete that portion. That money might not give the trail the finishing touches it needs, but it’s one step closer in the right direction. Regretfully, the construction of the trail won’t continue immediately, but in about eight to 10 years. When it is paved and finished, the trail should prove to be worth the wait for many people who use it, as well as to future users. Once the trail is finished, it should bring in more people and more business.
The final change to be made is a slow one that doesn’t make itself known very much. The towns that make up PCM are growing, even if they’re growing slowly. One day, these two towns might be a part of something bigger, becoming suburbs rather than towns that people haven’t heard of. The odds of PCM getting swallowed up by larger communities are slim, seeing as a lot of growth from larger cities is going west rather than east, but nobody can stop the growth and changes that come with time. According to the school statistics, the PCM community will grow quite a bit, but only time will tell.