What is Hometown Pride?

Warren County Hometown Pride brings neighbors together to build a sense of community, create and improve public amenities, and celebrate what makes our hometowns great.

7 participating towns in Warren County have a Hometown Pride team of local volunteers who work together to identify and complete projects that will improve the quality of life in their town and boost community pride.

Here are a few examples of projects that our Hometown Pride teams are working on: building a new playground, planning a music festival, coordinating a city-wide clean-up, installing town entrance signs and wayfinding signs, building a Veteran’s memorial, painting murals, delivering welcome gifts to new residents, promoting tourism, and a lot more. Check out our digital annual report for 2020 to learn more about what we’re up to:

Participating communities in Warren County are: Carlisle, Cumming, Hartford, Indianola, Milo, New Virginia, and Norwalk. Warren County Hometown Pride is part of a state-wide network of Hometown Pride programs across Iowa.

Contact us to learn how to join your local Hometown Pride team or visit our About page to learn more.

Featured post

2nd Annual Norwalk Lights of Love a Success!

Norwalk Hometown Pride worked hard setting up for the 2nd annual Lights of Love at the Norwalk Easter Public Library. The sponsored trees were put on display at the Norwalk Library this last holiday season! Sponsors can dedicate a tree to a lost loved one, or sponsor a tree in honor of someone you love. Businesses can even sponsor a tree, and let employees’ decorate it together. So far the Lights of Love project has had 58 trees thanks to $100 donations from sponsors in 2021 & 2022.

Thank you to:

⭐️Our tree sponsors

⭐️Howell Tree Farm for the scotch pine Christmas trees

⭐️Turnbull Tree Service for disposing of our trees so they can be used for mulch

⭐️Norwalk Easter Public Library for hosting our display

⭐️Adult and student volunteers who helped make the display possible!

Thank you for helping make the holiday season in Norwalk more magical in Norwalk.

$73,300 Grant Awarded to Wonder on Buxton Project

We are thrilled to announce being a Grant recipient for our Wonder on Buxton project. Our earning the distinction of one of “Iowa’s Great Places” was a significant factor in our eligibility for this grant. The overall cost of the project is expected to be $143K, with completion expected by end of 2024.

Excerpt from the Press Release:

“The City of Indianola received $73,300 for the “Wonder on Buxton,” a project envisioned by the community to connect Simpson College to its downtown square. Project funding will support new sculptural installations and improvements along Buxton Street, creating a vibrant area that invites visitors and celebrates Indianola’s cultural identity.”

Read the full Press Release here

Wonder on Buxton

Indianola Hometown Pride and our partners are bringing some “wonder” to North Buxton Street!

“Wonder on Buxton” is a plan to transform a portion of North Buxton Street into a place that celebrates our community, connects the town to the college, invites people to gather together, tells the “story” of Indianola, and inspires an overall sense of curiosity and wonder. We will do this by installing a series of amenities and art along 2.5 blocks from the Square to Simpson College. “Wonder on Buxton” includes: a sculptures series, a “storytelling” tour, outdoor gathering spaces, light pole art, and sidewalk art.

Click here to visit the website and learn more:


2021 in Review!

It’s been another big year for Hometown Pride in Warren County!

We completed 41 projects that boosted hometown pride and improved the quality of life in our 7 communities – including 17 events, 5 community amenities, 4 public art pieces, 6 clean-up days, and more.

We raised $60,000 for our endeavors, attracted more than 6,000 people to our events, worked with dozens of partner organizations, and received thousands of hours of volunteer time from over 100 amazing volunteers.

Thank you to all who gave their time, money, and heart to Hometown Pride in 2021. We could not be more grateful!

What we did in 2021:

  • Bike Rodeo (Carlisle)
  • Bingo Nights (Hartford)
  • Chili supper (Carlisle)
  • Community directory (Milo)
  • 2 City-wide garage sales (Milo & Hartford)
  • 6 Clean up days (in 4 communities)
  • Downtown Banners and Benches (Norwalk)
  • Entryway landscaping (Milo)
  • Fourth of July festivities (Norwalk)
  • Front Porch Norwalk
  • Hayride, stories and s’mores event (Carlisle)
  • Kite-flying day (New Virginia)
  • Light pole banners (New Virginia, and coming soon to Hartford and Cumming)
  • Lights of Love (Norwalk)
  • Light Up Hartford: Lighting Contest and Santa Visit
  • Light Up Indianola: Holiday Lanes
  • Lighted holiday maze (New Virginia)
  • 3 Murals (Hartford, New Virginia, Norwalk)
  • Music in the Park series (Hartford)
  • New resident welcome bags (Cumming & Hartford)
  • Norwalk Music Fest
  • Park wayfinding signs (Indianola)
  • Pop-up park (Milo)
  • Produce exchange cart (Milo)
  • Queenie B open house fundraiser (New Virginia)
  • Scarecrow stroll (Hartford)
  • Shirt sale fundraiser (Carlisle)
  • Tourism promotion for Warren County (Indianola and all)
  • Weekly food truck series (Carlisle)
  • Yard of the Month (Cumming & Indianola)

Cumming gets 100-foot mural

The Cumming water tower now tells the story of the community, with a 100-foot tall mural that depicts the unique attributes of the town. It was painted in August of 2020 by Iowa artist Ben Schuh, and is now one of Iowa’s tallest works of art! It sits in Cumming City Park, next to City Hall and just off the Great Western Trail.

The mural is the result of a year of hard work by Cumming Hometown Pride and the City of Cumming. The City funded a large portion of the cost, along with contributions from Warren County Philanthropic Partnership and the Warren County Economic Development Corporation, Warren County and Middlebrook Farm. The Hometown Pride committee and Norwalk Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for the new tower in October (pictured above) to celebrate and thank those who made it possible. Thank you to our funding partners for bringing this idea to life!

Fans of the mural can purchase merchandise with the artwork on it, including: Polar Water Bottles – $20; T-shirts – $25; Mural Prints (signed, while suppies last!) – $25; Koozies – $5. Our online store will be coming soon, but in the meantime, contact Angie at City Hall if you’d like to purchase one: 515-981-9214 or deputyclerk@cumming.iowa.gov.

New Digital Welcome Sign in Milo

Congrats to the Milo Hometown Pride team for all their hard work in getting a new digital entrance sign for the town! The sign is on the west entrance of town, and the digital screen shares city news and announcements from local organizations.

A big thank you to all who helped fund the sign. We could not have done it without you!

Indianola Awarded “Iowa Great Places” Designation

The City of Indianola has been awarded the “Iowa Great Places” designation by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs! View the press release here.

Iowa Great Places is a competitive program, based on a rigorous application process, that recognizes Iowa communities that “cultivate the unique and authentic qualities of their local places.” The designation allows Indianola to apply for Iowa Great Places funding (average award $204,000), and provides professional training, technical assistance, and access to a state-wide network of leaders from other “great places.”

The theme of Indianola’s application was “Destination Indianola.” It focused on 4 elements of what makes Indianola great, along with our collective vision for the future of these assets in our community:

  • Arts and Culture: Indianola is home to arts and culture anchors like the National Balloon Classic, Des Moines Metro Opera, and local performing arts organizations like Carousel Theatre. Our application included plans to build on this by adding public art, establishing an art center/gallery, marketing our year-round attractions, updating our community branding and more.
  • Education: We are home to Simpson College and an exemplary K-12 education system. The application included a vision for improving the campus-to-community connection with an “art corridor” between campus in the Square.
  • Great Outdoors: Indianola has 14 parks, 8 miles of trail and nearby regional outdoor attractions like Lake Ahquabi, Summerset trail and the Annett Nature Center. The application highlighted early plans for a new pavilion in Buxton Park, to provide a new performance and gathering space.
  • “Small Town” Way of Life: Residents love the small town feel of Indianola. The IGP application showcased our ambitious plans for streetscape improvements on the Square, which is the geographic “heart” of our small town way of life.

Indianola Hometown Pride was proud to lead the application process, and we are grateful for the many individuals and organizations who helped along the way. A big thank you to all those who contributed to the Vision Plan and application, and prepared for the site visit, including:

  • Scott Arens, Des Moines Metropolitan Opera
  • Steve Armstrong, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Doug Bylund, Director of Indianola Parks & Recreation Department
  • Shirley Clark, Indianola Kiwanis Club
  • Lorin Ditzler, Warren County Hometown Pride
  • Charlie Dissell, Community and Economic Development Director for City of Indianola
  • Amy Duncan, Editor of Indianola Independent Advocate
  • Brenda Easter, Director of Indianola Chamber of Commerce
  • Michael Egel, Des Moines Metro Opera
  • Jim and Rita Fromm, Local Balloonists
  • Rachel Gocken, Director of Warren County Economic Development
  • Leslie Held, Local Business Owner
  • Heather Hulen, Indianola City Council / Executive Director of Indianola YMCA
  • Emmett Konrad, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Bob Lane, Simpson College
  • Heidi Levine, Simpson College
  • Taylor Litchkey, Indianola Community Youth Foundation
  • Tim McMillin, Des Moines Metro Opera
  • Elodie Opstad, Community Volunteer and Historian
  • Jennifer Pfeifer-Malaney, Local Business Owner
  • Terry Pauling, Indianola Rotary Club
  • Clark Ridlen, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Emily Roush, Warren County Philanthropic Partnership
  • Art Sathoff, Superintendent of Indianola Community School District
  • Staci Scheurenbrand, National Balloon Classic
  • Jessica Schneider, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Mayor Kelly Shaw, City of Indianola
  • Andrew Swadner, KNIA KRLS Radio
  • Monica Thompson, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Brianna Vaughn, Camp Fire Indianola, Amicus Indianola
  • Ryan Waller, City Manager of City of Indianola
  • Josh Weitzel, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Sue Wilson, Director of Helping Hand of Warren County
  • Members of the Warren County Historical Society
  • And the entire Indianola City Council, for initiating the application process and approving the Vision Plan

Thank you!



Carlisle Art Trail Completed!

A colorful path of artwork now leads the way from the Summerset Trail to downtown Carlisle!

Carlisle Hometown Pride and the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce commissioned artist Kathleen Roling of Des Moines to paint 1/3 mile of trail and sidewalk. The project was envisioned as a way to encourage Summerset trail users to visit downtown Carlisle.

The artwork starts at the Summerset Trail trailhead parking lot (Hwy 5 and 165th Place), follows the trail across the highway to the wide sidewalk on the west side of 1st, and ends in downtown Carlisle, at the corner of 1st St and School St.

This project was funded by a 2019 tourism grant from Warren County. Thank you to the County!


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