Johnston Hoping to Attract New Businesses

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JOHNSTON, Iowa - The City of Johnston unveiled a new economic development guide Thursday night, hoping to attract new businesses to town and re-develop major areas.

City officials say they saw over $100 million in development in 2014, and hope to see that increase in 2015. The economic development guide's purpose is to attract new businesses to the area, and city officials say a major focal-point for re-development is the Merle Hay Road Gateway area - one of two main entry-points into Johnston from Interstate 80-35.

"We see the Merle Hay Road Gateway as a real opportunity," said Dave Wilwerding, Community Development Director for the City of Johnston. "It's one of two major gateways off our Interstate 80-35, and it's pretty much an old highway corridor that had gotten tired over the years - developed many, many years ago, and hadn't had a lot of new investment in it."

One major business at the Merle Hay Road Gateway, Lithia Motors, recently announced a $6 million expansion. City officials say they hope to see this kind of investment  create a domino-effect to revitalize the area.