Legislation sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tem Danny Carroll in 2005 is raising the tourism profile of a local landmark, the Louis Sullivan-designed Jewel Box Bank, and other Iowa historic sites in 2006.
Carroll, a Grinnell Republican whose district includes parts of Poweshiek and Mahaska counties, sponsored House File 797 to promote 23 national historic landmarks within the state. The legislation directed the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs to work together to promote the landmarks.
“The stories of these sites are an important part of Iowa’s past and who we are as Iowans. There’s great value in that history – and we need to maintain our connection with it,” Carroll said. “I also know the economic value that tourism brings to communities with historic landmarks and it just makes good sense to promote cultural assets like these that might otherwise be overlooked.”
The Department of Economic Development (DED) has indicated that the 2006 Iowa Travel Guide, which will be released in mid-January, will include a special section on the state’s national historic landmarks, including the local bank building. Photographs on the guide’s cover will highlight two of the landmarks, the Old Capitol in Iowa City and the Dodge Museum in Council Bluffs. In addition, a special feature will be added to the state’s official tourism website, www.traveliowa.com, to promote Iowa’s landmarks.
The DED has informed Carroll that the Department of Transportation has already provided highway signage for all landmarks that have requested the service. In addition, DOT officials will contact other landmarks to determine if signage is appropriate for them.
“Our state government has resources at its disposal that can attract the public’s attention to historical sites like our favorite national landmark, the Jewel Box Bank. Those resources become even more effective whenever we can coordinate them and I’ll continue to encourage efforts to do exactly that,” Carroll said.