West Liberty, Iowa
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (January 2015)|
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|West Liberty, Iowa|
Downtown West Liberty, Iowa
|Motto: Community of Opportunity|
Location of West Liberty, Iowa
|• Mayor||Robert Hartman|
|• City manager||Lawrence McNaul|
|• Total||1.74 sq mi (4.51 km2)|
|• Land||1.74 sq mi (4.51 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||676 ft (206 m)|
|• Estimate (2013)||3,726|
|• Density||2,147.1/sq mi (829.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0462879|
West Liberty is located 5 miles south of Interstate 80 on Historic Highway 6. The city is home to the West Liberty Raceway, located in the Muscatine County Fairgrounds. The Muscatine County Fair takes place in West Liberty in July of each year.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Arts and culture
- 6 Education
- 7 Parks and recreation
- 8 Media
- 9 Community engagement
- 10 Utilities
- 11 External links
- 12 References
West Liberty was incorporated in 1868. The town was located at the junction of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific and Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroads. Prior to incorporation the town stood about half a mile north of where it is currently located but it was relocated in order to be closer to the railway. The settlement was originally known as Wapsinonoc Township, which means smooth surfaced, meandering creek or stream. The changing of the name to Liberty (after the town of Liberty, Ohio, the former home of many of the new settlers) is attributed to the wife of the township's first postmaster, Simeon A. Bagley. It is believed that the town came to be known as West Liberty after it was relocated, possibly influenced by a town west of Liberty, Ohio that was named West Liberty, Ohio. 
West Liberty is located at (41.571517, -91.261229).
|Source:"American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. and Iowa Data Center|
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,736 people, 1,251 households, and 890 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,147.1 inhabitants per square mile (829.0/km2). There were 1,316 housing units at an average density of 756.3 per square mile (292.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 71.2% White, 0.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 23.3% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 52.2% of the population.
There were 1,251 households of which 43.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.9% were non-families. 23.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.48.
The median age in the city was 32.8 years. 29.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.6% were from 25 to 44; 21.5% were from 45 to 64; and 12% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,332 people, 1,150 households, and 801 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,136.4 people per square mile (824.7/km2). There were 1,195 housing units at an average density of 766.2 per square mile (295.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 67.20% White, 0.30% African American, 0.42% Native American, 3.54% Asian, 25.00% from other races, and 3.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 40.49% of the population.
There were 1,150 households out of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.3% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.46.
29.8% are under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 101.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,925, and the median income for a family was $41,667. Males had a median income of $29,963 versus $24,306 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,420. About 4.6% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.8% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.
West Liberty is home to two major employers: The West Liberty Community School District and West Liberty Foods. West Liberty Foods is a producer of turkey products that has a meat processing facility as well as its corporate headquarters in the city. Agriculture, housing development, and agribusiness are a major factor in the local economy. The West Liberty Industrial Park is located on the south side of the city. In 2005, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of West Liberty undertook the initiative to improve area economic development with the foundation of We Lead. We Lead is a non-profit organization that partners with the City of West Liberty and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in carrying out their mission.
West Liberty's Downtown Commercial Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places in Muscatine County, Iowa. A Downtown Task Force meets regularly to discuss the issues and needs for the downtown area. This task force works in partnership with We Lead to envision revitalization projects and implement them when possible. Recent projects include the adoption of the International Property Maintenance Code for aging downtown buildings and the establishment of a revolving loan fund for structural improvements and scholarships for facades. We Lead has begun to implement The Art-Full Community Project as a prototype for a business incubator; businesses in West Liberty display artwork, artists sell their work and donate part of the proceeds to a community economic development fund. Part of this community fund also benefits the downtown area.
Arts and culture
West Liberty is a historical town with many annual events. West Liberty is home to its own historical movie theater which was built in 1910, a puppet theater that hosts several events throughout the year and gives frequent performances, two dance studios, an arts council which organizes community art lessons during the winter months and concerts during the summer, and various local artists. West Liberty has a historical downtown, a train depot that was built in 1897, and a public library, constructed in 1904. West Liberty is home to the Muscatine County Fairgrounds where it hosts the Muscatine County Fair, West Liberty's biggest annual event.
Festivals and events
The city's biggest event, the Muscatine County Fair is held every year in July. The fair features grandstand entertainment, a carnival, a talent show, a fair queen contest, pet shows, and judging of various exhibits in the categories of livestock, arts and crafts, cooking, flowers and plants, photography, and antiques. The fair is held in the historical Muscatine County Fairgrounds. More than half of the buildings are original, an exceptionally large number compared to other fairgrounds.
Before the fair begins, every year West Liberty holds the Fair Parade followed by Picnic in the Park. Held the Sunday immediately preceding the fair, the Fair Parade features floats made by the community in keeping with that year's theme. The parade winds through town and is immediately followed by the Picnic in the Park. The Picnic in the Park is held in Kimberly Park and features a free swim, food sold by local vendors, and entertainment.
Another annual summertime event is Summer Music in the Park. This summer concert series is organized by WLAAC (West Liberty Area Arts Council) and is free to the public. Every Friday evening for about a month in the summer a concert is given by local groups in Ron-de-Voo Park. Music styles range from blues to classic rock to Latin American folk music.
The Children's Festival is held every year in September. A daylong event held downtown on Third Street, it comprises puppet shows (some performed by the local Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre), crafts, activities, strolling performers, performances from the local dance studios, food from local vendors, and more. The various performances and puppet shows are given by both local and out of state performers.
In the months of April through August the West Liberty Raceway hosts races nearly every Saturday night. According to their website, the raceway is a "large 1/2 mile, slightly banked, dirt track". The IMCA Sport Compact, iWireless IMCA Late Models, and Performance Concepts are hosted at the raceway.
The historical Rock Island Depot, built in 1897, now serves as a museum. It contains displays full of artifacts pertaining to the history of West Liberty and the history of the railway. Heritage Park, or the Depot Campus as it is more commonly known, serves as a museum of sorts as well. This area immediately surrounding the depot has become the final resting place for many local pieces of history. There is a restored Rock Island Lines Caboose being displayed there, a local barn now known as the Heritage Barn has been relocated here along with several pieces of antique farm equipment displayed in and around the barn, a tourist cabin that used to form part of the North Point complex, which in addition to the nine cabins also consisted of a diner and a service station, a one-room schoolhouse, also known as the Swamp School, was likewise moved to the depot campus, and the newest addition, a steam locomotive now permanently rests in Heritage Park.
The West Liberty Public Library building was constructed in 1904 with the help of a $7500 grant from Andrew Carnegie. However, before the existence of the current building, the library can be traced back to its beginning as a temperance library. After the Reading Room was closed, seven women continued circulating the books until they left the handling of the library to the Peoples Library Association 5 years later. The association opened a reading room and later, in the year 1900, the community voted to approve the establishment of a public library. The West Liberty Public Library building is listed as a State Historical Building and has been renovated and expanded various times over the years with the latest repairs and renovations occurring in 2012-2013. The library holds a host of activities throughout the year including summer reading programs, screenings of educational movies, toddler story times, a morning coffee book club, and much more.
The West Liberty Community School District (WLCSD) consists of elementary, middle, and high schools. Construction of a new high school was completed in 2004. The school district serves over 1220 students with a student/teacher ratio of 11/1. West Liberty High School was ranked Eighth (#8) Best High School in Iowa, according to the US News "Best High Schools 2013 Rankings."
Dual Language Program
"The West Liberty Elementary, Middle School, and High School are all International Spanish Academies (ISAs)". which offer students the opportunity to earn one of the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera awarded by the Instituto Cervantes. International Spanish Academies are recognized by the Ministry of Education and the Government of Spain. The WLCSD Dual Language Program allows students to take all of their classes in both Spanish and English, increasing their bilingual skills and their understanding of another culture through language immersion. Students enter the program in pre-kindergarten and parents make a commitment on behalf of their child and themselves to participate in the program through fifth grade.
The WLCSD Dual Language Program was the first of its kind in the State of Iowa. It began in the fall of 1997 when the district received a five-year $1.7 million Federal Title VII grant from the United States Department of Education. After a year of planning and model analysis, the program was implemented in the fall of 1998 at the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten grade levels. From 1999 through 2002, the district added grade levels as the first class advanced through each grade. In the spring of 2011, the first graduating class of Seniors marked the final establishment of the dual language program in all K-12 grade levels.
Parks and recreation
There are a total of eight city parks scattered throughout West Liberty, varying in size and purpose from a veterans memorial to a public pool to a sports complex complete with softball and baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a skatepark, and more. The city parks are as follows:
- Dutton Park
- Friendship Park
- Railroad Park
- Ron-De-Voo Park
- Sesquincentennial Park
- Veterans Memorial Park
- Wapsie Park
- Kimberly Park
In addition to the eight city parks, West Liberty maintains a portion of the Hoover Nature Trail. The renovated portion of the trail in West Liberty starts at the depot and continues north until it reaches Highway 6. Just a short distance after the depot campus ends there is an outdoor fitness center. It contains various pieces of workout equipment available for public use.
West Liberty is home to the West Liberty Golf & Country Club, a country club which features a nine-hole golf course and a restaurant. The country club hosts a variety of events, including tournaments.
The West Liberty Gun Club is a shooting range located on the southwest edge of town. It features an outdoor range, an archery range, and a trap range. It holds matches for anyone from beginners to more experienced shooters. The club has about 150 members.
The West Liberty Index, the local newspaper for the town of West Liberty, has been in operation since 1868. It covers a variety of local news including news from the nearby towns of Nichols and Atalissa. The West Liberty Public Library has a collection of microfilm copies of the paper from the years 1878 through 1946.
West Liberty receives its telephone, cable, and internet services from the local telephone company Liberty Communications. West Liberty has high speed access to the internet through a fiber optic network.
The town's water, electric, and sewer are all provided through the city. West Liberty generates its own electricity and is one of 64 municipal electric utilities in the State of Iowa with that capability. Garbage pickup is taken care of by the city's solid waste department. The solid waste department also provides a recycling center, dumpster rental, appliance removal for a fee, and yard waste pickup.
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- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-26.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-26.
- Richman, Irving Berdine (1911). History of Muscatine County, Iowa: From the Earliest Settlements to the Present Time. S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. p. 226.
- The West Liberty Heritage Foundation (1988). Sesquicentennial Rolling into the Future West Liberty, Iowa 150 Years 1838–1988. p. 2.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
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- The Muscatine County Fair (2014). "Fairbook 2014". p. 1–129.
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- Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. "Hoover Nature Trail (West Liberty)". Retrieved 20 June 2014.
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