A Creative Culture: Adams County Inspires Business and Community Growth

Emily Lansdell
On Monday, January 4, 2021 - 12:14
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Adams County may have the smallest population of any Iowa county – around 4,000 residents – but it harnesses immense creative energy that defines the community. 

The quality of life in Adams County is fueled by its outdoor recreational activities, cultural opportunities, a top-notch school system, diverse health care options, attractive neighborhoods and enthusiastic people, says Beth Waddle, executive director of the Adams Community Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC).

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Adams Community Economic Development Corporation

It's All About People

“Volunteers built this community,” Waddle says. “We’re all about creating opportunities for community members and entrepreneurs. We’re not afraid to create something new that’s going to help people.”

From its historic anchors like the Corning Opera House Cultural Center and the French Icarian Village to popular hubs like the Corning Winery and the Corning Center for the Fine Arts, Adams County has something for every interest. Tourists and locals also enjoy the county’s proximity to three major metropolitan areas.

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Adams Community Economic Development Corporation

These features and the close-knit culture bring new interest to the area, Waddle says. Family physician, Dr. Ashley Neils, moved from Sioux City, Iowa, to the county seat of Corning in early 2019. Neils first worked in a temporary role with Catholic Health Initiative (CHI) Mercy Corning before deciding on a permanent career and family move to Adams County.

“In big cities, you just never get out and know your neighbors, and here you do,” Neils says. “The community does so much in terms of development and to keep it alive. It doesn’t feel like a small place. There are just so many opportunities here.”

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Adams Community Economic Development Corporation

Startup Success

It’s also an excellent place for entrepreneurs to start a business, Waddle says. The ACEDC has helped to launch several new ventures such as The Corning Hotel, the county’s first hotel. This LLC project brought investors together to build the 33-room boutique “lodging experience” to cater to tourists and business travelers.

“It’s going to make a huge impact on our local economy,” Waddle says. “It’s really going to help our tourism groups, and people can spend several days here now. Our community is forward-thinking and behind this growth.”

The community has also embraced growth in Corning’s Great American Main Street district like the farm-to-table restaurant, Primrose. With an ever-changing menu inspired by local artisanal vegetables, the restaurant also offers apartments on the second floor. 

The ACEDC helped the business secure a funding grant and regularly offers creative financing options and professional mentorship to many startups. Waddle says that businesses like Primrose have a vision that progressive county leaders want to nurture and support.

“The creative energy and great leadership of our community bring experiences beyond what an entrepreneur may come up with themselves,” Waddle says. “We spin ideas that give businesses the opportunity to be successful. We rejoice and celebrate with them every step of the way.”

Learn more at Adams Community Economic Development Association