CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – This week, KCRG-TV9 is looking at the towns of Luana, Monona and Postville – “Our Town.”
While we often hear that small towns are getting smaller, Luana and Postville are seeing their populations grow.
RJ Olsen is in his tenth year teaching Grade 4 at Postville Community School. Before going to the job interview, he couldn’t remember ever being northeast of Marshalltown before. He hadn’t planned to stay in Postville very long, but that plan changed.
“I loved it, obviously the opportunity to play football was also a good thing, and there were a lot of leadership opportunities,” Olsen said.
He is one of 276 people who moved to Postville between the 2010 census and the 2020 census, according to journalism site Iowa Watch.org. That’s a jump of 12%. The organization’s article also reports that Luana saw an 11% jump during that time, as people moved into new housing.
Twenty homes have been built at Countryside Estates in Luana since 2007. The goal is to provide quality housing for people moving to the community.
Postville Mayor Dennis Koenig was born and raised in Postville and has lived there most of his life in addition to his time in the military. He thinks the big employers in town have brought in people. “I guess I have to say the biggest one is Agri, it’s the Jewish-owned packinghouse,” he said.
“With that, it probably also brings our diverse population.” People come from all over the world, from Somalia, Russia, Ukraine, as well as Jews and Hispanics. “I don’t believe you will ever see a place like ours,” Mayor Koenig said. “Just for the fact that the different people you’re going to meet.”
Olsen wants people to know the good things about Postville, including its residents, who come from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities.
“We’re not really that different, and at school you see that too,” Olsen said. “At the end of the day, they all care about their kids.”
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