Our Hometown: Rock Valley - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

By Rebecca Sunshine

Our Hometown: Rock Valley


Rock Valley Iowa boasts economic development, and parks and recreational facilities that provide a living environment that is envied by neighboring towns.

Rock Valley was founded in 1889 and is named after the Rock River which runs through town.

It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Rock Valley from Sioux City.

A drive through the business district on Main Street is like taking a look at the past since many of the town's original buildings are still in use.

The first thing you notice when you get into town is how quickly it is growing.

So fast in fact that the Northwest Iowa Review named the town the second fastest growing community in Northwest Iowa, with population growth around 7 to 8 percent.

And with all of that growth, comes jobs. "We have probably 60-80 jobs currently unmet, un-filled," said Jim Vander Velde, Rock Valley Economic Development Director.

To help fill those jobs, Rock Valley is doing what they can to attract potential workers. "People move to a community not only for a job, but people want recreation, they want family, they want community," said Vander Velde.

With that in mind, Rock Valley used grant money to transform donated land in to campgrounds. "The new campground is a major accomplishment I think, it was a goal of ours, we've been working on it a number of years," said Kent Eknes, Mayor of Rock Valley.

All of that hard work was worth it, the 97 acre campground opened on Memorial Day with more than 80 camp sites and three ponds, two for fishing, and one for swimming.

The new campgrounds allow kids to play on the beach, even though they are miles away from the nearest coast.

"I never thought Rock Valley would have a beach, I just figured we would always have to go out of town to go swimming," said Lorna Van Maanen, Town Librarian.

"Now on a sunny day go out there and the beach is full of families, local and from around the area sitting around campfires and cooking," said Tom Van Maanem, City Administrator.

The new campground is connected to town by 11 miles of trail that can be found all over Rock Valley.

In early May, rural parts of Rock Valley were hit by a tornado that knocked down power lines and threw farm equipment as if it were nothing more than a child's toy.

Now just two months later you wouldn't know that a twister had gone through.

"If you go to those areas that were damaged by a tornado you will see that all of those areas are already either rebuilt, especially all cleaned up.. and that's the kind of spirit we have here, neighbors helping each other clean up," said Vander Velde.

Neighbors lending a hand to keep the community great.

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