University of Iowa Lends a Hand with Boone Buildings

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BOONE, Iowa -- A delegation from the University of Iowa paid a visit to Boone this week, part of a new outreach by the school to help Iowa communities.

The 40 member tour consisted of faculty and staff with expertise to try to assist Iowa towns. The group offered help in such areas as healthcare issues, business development, and infrastructure.

"We're trying to find out how we can be more helpful to towns like Boone," said Linda Snetselaar, who is an Associate Provost at the U of I. "Where they're looking at increasing the number or businesses, or getting students from high school get more involved in business."

The school is asking, what are the issues communities are dealing with?

The City of Boone did ask for advice on what to do with some aging buildings. Currently, Boone is removing one abandoned building, and a second building across the street has a collapsed wall.

In 2009, Boone had three abandoned buildings to deal with after a fire in the downtown area.

According to City Manager Luke Nelson, Boone has made old buildings a priority, so the city has dollars in the budget to remove some buildings.

The biggest issue in removing the old buildings is the removal or abatement of asbestos. That issue can add greatly to the cost of the project.

"We tend to focus on some of the things that need improvement," said Boone City Manager Luke Nelson. "That's where we're looking for their help, some of our down sides, our downtown, and help us come up with ways to address that.

Nelson stressed, Boone does have a lot of positive aspects, but the City Council wants to prioritize ways to make the community better.

The University of Iowa delegation traveled to Atlantic, Fort Dodge, and Boone.