The City of Clinton has seen a lot of big changes, and is getting ready for more. Mayor Mark Vulich says that he sees a lot of positivity.
“The economy went the wrong direction in the late 2000’s, and everything kind of came to a stand still,” said Vulich, who became mayor in 2011. “But we’re starting to see the pendulum switching the other direction.”
A lot of changes have happened. One includes the old train depot, that sits near the entrance to the main part of the city. Union Pacific bought the train depot. The plan is to build a new railroad bridge using the property. If the construction of the bridge doesn’t require the demolition of the building, Vulich is hopeful that the city can acquire the building.
“We may have an interest in the depot as a historical museum,” said Vulich.
Those plans are still a while away.
The city is also in the process of restoring historic buildings. The former Roosevelt School building opened up last fall into aparments. The Wilson building is also on the drawing board to be rehabbed into the Wilson Lofts, mixed-use space. The $10 million project will include 32 market rate apartments. There are also plans to rehab the abandoned Washington Middle School building into senior apartments.
Vulich hopes that having new apartments, especially in the downtown district, will help attract the younger generation.
“We don’t do a good job, or haven’t done a good job, of marketing to the younger people,” said Vulich.
Vulich has lived in Clinton his entire life. His family owned a funeral home, and he worked in that business for 24 years. He then joined city council, and was elected to the mayor’s seat in 2011. He remembers Clinton as a vibrant city with a bustling downtown, full of big name department stores. He wants things to return to the way they once were.
“I’ve lived here, I’m going to retire here, this is my home,” said Vulich. “I want something good to happen.”
Vulich says the city also got some much needed new faced at City Hall and at the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. He says the morale is positive, and there are a lot of new and high energy ideas.
“There is none of this ‘We can’t do it’ type of attitude, which you can fall into. We’re going to look at everything, we’re going to find a way to do it if we can, whatever we can do that’s best for the citizens of Clinton.”
Vulich says economic development is a key. He hopes that the increased residential life will help, but also being proactive in attracting businesses. He says Clinton has a ton to offer with professional baseball, a marina, local restaurants, a river view, parks and entertainment.
The new residential space, housing developments, property cleanup, a renovated Eagle Point Lodge, and new city officials is just the start. The vision is to be the best.
“I would like to see Clinton rated as the number one midsize city in the state of Iowa,” said Vulich. That’s my real vision. It’s going to take a lot of work, you know we need to turn our population loss around, there are a lot of things that need to be done but we’re one the right track.”