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Lake City supports its businesses, families

New start-ups thrive; tragedy unites town

February 17, 2013
By PETER KASPARI, , Messenger News

LAKE CITY - Last year, the town of Lake City came together to support both local businesses and each other in a year that saw much growth for the town.

The many changes to the town include the hiring of Alissa Blair as the town's betterment coordinator.

Blair said her responsibilities include finding ways for local businesses and ordinary people come together to make Lake City a better place.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Beth Larsen, of Branson, Mo., prepares to eat her lunch, a chili dog and chili cheese fries, at the Lake City Drive In. Larsen said everybody in the restaurant is very friendly, and said the food was very good. The business reopened in Lake City after several years of going through different name changes and businesses.

"Every organization in town is very good at collaborating," she said. "We've tried to include every organization into Lake City Betterment, and we've seen a great response."

Lake City Betterment makes sure every member has a voice and works to see that events are available for every age group, according to Blair.

"It's a way to share dreams and goals for the community," Blair said. "Everybody's always adjusting to what's going on, and it's really neat to witness."

One local business that has worked with Lake City Betterment is Gorden's Garden Center, which opened in 2011.

Owner Nick Gorden said Lake City treats its local businesses well.

"It's nice to have people supporting each other," he said. "There's a good percentage of people who shop locally, especially for the small businesses in town."

Gorden described being a business owner in Lake City as "rewarding."

City Administrator Kim Kelly said many businesses came to Lake City over the past year.

"We have a new country club and a new body shop," she said.

"The high school also had a substantial addition and remodel."

Kelly said significant progress was also made on the town's pool project, a fundraiser with the goal of rebuilding the town's 50-year-old pool.

"Last year we hit the $1 million mark," she said. "That brings us halfway to our goal."

This year will mark a little more than three years since the fundraiser began.

The town also welcomed back the Lake City Drive-In, a restaurant that had been a part of Lake City many years ago before it was turned into other businesses.

Manager Sheryl Ludwig said the restaurant's owner decided to bring the restaurant back.

"His idea received overwhelming support from the community," she said.

Since the restaurant returned last year, Ludwig said many have been supportive.

"It's become a second home for some people, especially for the kids," she said. "It's also become a second home for all of us that work here."

Kelly said the town also showed its ability to band together in the face of a tragedy that happened in November.

On Nov. 14, 2012, a fire destroyed the home at 703 S. Illinois St.

The fire also killed 22-year-old Tyra Pierson, 8-year-old Madison Pierson, 3-year-old Wyatt Pierson and 10-month-old Xavier Pierson.

"The Lake City Fire Department teamed up with the Red Cross," she said. "They all went door to door and checked the smoke detectors in all the houses. They also replaced all the batteries in ones that needed them."

Lake City was also a stop on the RAGBRAI route last summer.

"Many people in town served as vendors and entertainment," Kelly said.



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