Morning Optimists hear from M-PAC reps


The Morning Optimist Club of Marshalltown met for its weekly meeting on Tuesday at the Hy-Vee Dining Room. President John Hall opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and then an invocation.

Ray Helland announced that it is time to inventory the flags in the storage shed. He said that there are 30 new flag sockets to be installed for the upcoming flag season. He invited volunteers to join him.

Diane Hall announced that the third quarter Iowa District Optimist meeting will be May 10, but will be held in Des Moines at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, instead of in Marshalltown, as had been originally scheduled.

April Program Chair Linda Moore introduced Heidi Pierson and John Hermanson as the guest speakers of the day. They represented the M-PAC, which is the Marshalltown Public Arts Committee, a division of the Marshalltown Arts and Culture Alliance since 2013. They focused on the improvements that have been made and are in the works for 13th Street.

Hermanson summarized the history of the focus on 13th Street. The desire for improvement of the area came about from the Imagine 7 Big Ideas as a result of community surveys a few years ago. Hermanson described the area as a “gateway to IVH,” which gets many visitors. He said that the area “should be an amenity for the people who live and visit there.” Funds are still being raised, but there has already been $330,000 raised for the infrastructure improvements that have taken place.

Pierson discussed the process of choosing the art piece that is to go on the green space on 13th Street. The committee worked with an art professor from UNI who helped them to identify 15 nationally known artists who might submit sculpture designs for the 13th Street area. The selection committee narrowed the submissions to three art pieces, and then sought public opinion about the best one for 13th Street.

The public selected the work titled “Echo” by Bruce White, a sculptor from DeKalb, Ill. The piece is stainless steel, two feet wide and 35 feet high at its highest point. White is working with M-PAC on the installation process.

Hall closed the meeting with the joint recitation of the Optimist Creed. The Morning Optimist Club of Marshalltown meets at 6:30 a.m. Tuesdays at the Hy-Vee Dining Room. Guests are welcome. The club’s website is at