I was not born and raised here, so by definition, I am not a Dubuquer.
However, I have lived here for 30 years and raised my family in this community. We have seen magnificent growth and changes in the neighborhoods through the years.
When I arrived in 1991, U.S. 151 took all visitors through downtown to connect to U.S. 20. This was before Dodge Street was reconstructed, landmark signs were installed and well before any form of GPS was invented. (To find my new college, the University of Dubuque, we were told to travel west on U.S. 20 and follow the exit at the second hospital sign. At Finley Hospital, turn left.)
During a college visit, we drove to find Sundown Mountain Resort. The drive was beautiful, but that destination was far away from the city. The Northwest Arterial was the outer ridge of town surrounded by numerous cornfields.
A few years later when my husband, son and I moved to Epworth, Iowa, we traveled this section of town more often. We knew the backroads well — when Radford and Chavenelle roads were not through streets.
Seippel Road had a rickety bridge over the train tracks and a cow path where the ` Pond is now. There wasn’t a pond back then, just a dusty path that might flood during heavy rain.
The West end changes only represent a portion of the city that has experienced development. The downtown Bee Branch and Southwest Arterial are other adjustments that have created a better infrastructure for our community.
The Universal Law of Polarity says that everything has its pair of opposites. There are two sides to everything. There is up and down. Left and right. Hot and cold. Growth has an opposite, too. It is death. I know that farmland and neighborhoods have been sacrificed through the years to expand industry and roadways. If our community is not growing, do we really want the alternative?
I know of many once-booming cities that are not flourishing any longer. The industry has left, the population has decreased, the thriving community no longer draws residents or visitors. I am proud that our Dubuque is not one of these cities.
After high school, my goal was to move west of the Mississippi River. I arrived in Dubuque, and stopped because I found heaven. After college, we chose to stay and raise our family because of its safety, beauty and opportunities.
Thank you to our community leaders for having a vision for our progressive city. Thank you for growing and improving our homeland. Thank you for creating our corner of heaven.