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‘What makes Washington Special?’
Mar. 9, 2023 9:58 am
Welcome to the 2023 Spotlight edition.
The Southeast Iowa Union is pleased to bring you its annual section that shines a light on amenities within the community. Spotlight is a resource to help Washington residents, new and established, connect with the people, places and resources that keep the community running.
This section contains information on local officials, schools, health services, churches and parks. It is produced by the Southeast Iowa Union, a Monday-through-Friday local paper located at 111 N. Marion Ave. in Washington.
Washington has been named as one of the 100 Best Small Towns in America, with plenty of perks like a thriving downtown, lively events and a short drive to Iowa City. In the last year, it’s been designated an Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Great Place, an All-Star Community by the Iowa League of Cities, and winner of the Iowans Unite Community Contest.
As for what makes Washington so special, the answers are as varied as the people we asked.
For some, it’s the arts.
“Whether it's creating music, amazing food, art, literature, movies, plays or unique events and shopping experiences, we cheer on the creators and enjoy all the opportunities available to us to appreciate the products of their work,” Washington Librarian Cary Ann Siegfried said.
For others, it’s the people, and their willingness to help.
“It’s the way our community puts any and all disagreements aside, and comes together during an emergency to support those affected,” Washington Fire Chief Brendan DeLong said.
Washington Chamber of Commerce Outreach and Communications coordinator Mikayla Slechta said it was a town with everything. She’d heard as much from her sister-in-law’s recent visit in town.
“The first thing she said to me when she got there was, ‘Wow, this town is like a mini Cedar Rapids,’” she said. “After she said that I really thought hard about that comment. How many other visitors have we had that think the same thing? But honestly, they are right! We have all we need right here in Washington! I love that we have the opportunities like a bigger city but still have that small town feel.”
For school board Member and Latinos for Washington President Sonia Leyva, the city simply feels like home.
“I’ve traveled all over the world and seen amazing things and met amazing people, but at the end of the day, I feel like my heart always comes back to Washington,” she said. “It’s small, so I people I know and recognize all the time, which just makes you feel like you belong. You see people on the streets, and even if we don’t know each other, we share Washington in common.”