“Welcome home.” I have been hearing those words a lot lately, and every time I hear them it warms my heart.
Coming home to Council Bluffs was not a matter of convenience or luck. It was a longstanding goal.
When I graduated from A.L. and headed off to the University of Iowa, I didn’t expect to come back to Council Bluffs. I bought into the idea that my hometown didn’t have enough jobs or opportunities for me. It took fifteen years of exploration – from Washington D.C. to Minneapolis to Austin – before I recognized what Council Bluffs has to offer. My husband and I made this our home.
Then my job at Union Pacific took us to Houston. Houston is a bustling town with friendly people, great restaurants, and warm winters, and it’s a short drive to the beach. But it’s not Council Bluffs.
This is home. I love the trees and rolling hills. I love that it only takes a few minutes of conversation with a new acquaintance to discover a mutual friend. I love the bike trails, and the farmers markets, and the fact that even cross-town rivals like A.L. and T.J. can be polite and gracious as they share Wickersham Stadium. I love the historic buildings and close-knit neighborhoods. I love that local business owners work all day then give their evenings to the city council and school board and county board of supervisors. And I love the passion that people show for this town of ours in volunteer work, commitment to neighbors and neighborhoods, and engagement in community conversations.
City-dwellers are beginning to realize that smaller towns have a lot to offer when it comes to quality of life. Most of us in Council Bluffs already treasure our lifestyle – it’s what brought my husband and me back here. Council Bluffs provides green spaces, friendly neighbors, and good schools. Urbanites searching for a friendlier lifestyle are finding us. Our challenge will be to stay true to our roots while continuing to add to the long list of reasons why this is a great place to call home.
I look forward to working with all of my Council Bluffs neighbors as we collectively rise to that challenge.
Written by Brenda Mainwaring, President and CEO