NORTH LIBERTY– First known as Squash Bend, North Bend, Big Bend and Scales Bend, the town of North Liberty incorporated on Nov. 18, 1913.
Throughout next year, the city plans to celebrate that historic event.
The North Liberty Centennial Committee is already hard at work, preparing for the party.
The committee is made up of a group of about 20 volunteers, at least so far, said assistant city administrator Tracey Mulcahey.
“I sent out a request inviting anybody who was interested in May,” Mulcahey said. “I had several people respond, and have seen the committee grow since then.”
The Centennial Committee has subcommittees working in the areas of media, public relations and outreach, event planning, finance and fundraising, as well as a general group of people who are interested in helping throughout the 11-month celebration but don’t have direct planning responsibilities.
“We need more folks to help in the planning and getting events off the ground, and we will need lots of volunteers to help execute the events as we go along,” Mulcahey said. “Eventually we will set up a way for people to sign up for various things online.”
So far, the Centennial Committee has created a general budget and an overall schedule of events, planning one major activity in each of the months between January and November 2013. The public relations committee also initiated a logo contest, inviting the public to submit centennial logo designs. One winning design will be used for all marketing purposes, advertisements, merchandise for sale, and centennial T-shirts.
They have also planned a community-wide kickoff to be held during the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual North Liberty business banquet on Nov. 8, when the committee will unveil the winning logo and announce upcoming centennial events.
Meanwhile, the marketing committee will be working hard to generate community excitement– and involvement– by keeping people posted on upcoming activities through Facebook, Twitter, North Liberty Television, the city’s website and the North Johnson County newspaper, as well as being available via email. (Look for northliberty100 on Facebook and Twitter, or email email@example.com ).
The group has gained a lot of momentum so far, said Mulcahey. “I love the energy that comes to these meetings. It’s awesome to have people who are newer to the community around the table as well. They are really excited about it, too.”
In a town that is bursting at the seams with new construction, new opportunities and new residents, it’s easy for the town’s long history to be forgotten.
“It’s important to learn and celebrate the history of the town, because the population is relatively new and many don’t know the roots of North Liberty or what it used to be like,” said Mary K. Mitchell, a long-time member of the North Bend History Committee. A few years ago, Mitchell and other members of that committee gave a presentation to children at the North Liberty Community Library during their summer reading program. Some wore period costumes, introduced kids to everyday practices and shared memorabilia from the early years of North Liberty. John Christenson played the role of Samuel Ranshaw, talking about how his family came to the area and eventually build North Liberty’s historic Ranshaw House, (currently under renovation by the City of North Liberty) in the early 1900s.
“I was amazed at the interest from the children,” Mitchell said. “For them, it’s a new experience, not an old one. It’s just a whole different lifestyle.”
Mulcahey said the nearly year-long celebration will provide many opportunities for people of different age groups and demographics to come together, as well as find their niche, whatever that may be.
“This celebration is not just about looking backward, but celebrating where we are now, and where are going in the future,” said Mulcahey. “I am very anxious to see how it ends up. I think it has really cool potential.”