November 6, 2020 (PANORA) – The Panora and Lake Panorama Economic Development group, locally known as PRIDE, announced important donations from two Panora area banks. The Iowa Trust & Savings Bank and the Guthrie County State Bank each made $25,000 donations to the development group to assist them with a land purchase. Curt Thornberry, president of the group, hailed the donations as key to the group’s goal of redeveloping 1.1 acres of commercial property along State Highway 4 in Panora.
“The City of Panora is a vital economic center within Guthrie County,” remarked Thornberry. ”The community is a leader among cities in our county, particularly in annual retail sales. Based on the State’s scoring of our community, Panora is considered a regional draw. With more businesses operating in town there is limited land and few buildings available for businesses to locate here. With a few exceptions, most of the downtown storefronts are occupied,” Thornberry said.
“We get quite a few inquiries for businesses looking to locate in Panora that are unable to find a suitable location,” he noted. “With the purchase of the property along the highway, PRIDE plans to combine the parcels and make them available for commercial development.” It is worth noting that the construction of the Panora Plaza in 1986 by area developer, Irv Gerlich, was the last commercial multitenant retail project in Panora outside of the downtown business district.
According to Thornberry, the project would have taken much longer and been more difficult had we not been able to have community partners like Iowa Trust & Savings Bank and Guthrie County State Bank. “We wanted to remove a land bottleneck that has been hampering commercial development locally. They saw a need, as well, in the community and wanted to play a part in our efforts,” he added.
“Iowa Trust & Savings Bank is committed to the success of our community and is honored to be part of the team working for its future,” said Julie Dent-Zajicek, president of the bank’s Panora branch. “This land acquisition will position our community for future growth and we are pleased to contribute to the project.”
“PRIDE acts as a connector to help our business community create a vision and see the opportunity that exists in Panora,” said Mark Cates, vice president and branch manager, Guthrie County State Bank. “When it’s time to make a strategic move, PRIDE helps facilitate that activity quickly and efficiently. Guthrie County State Bank is proud to support these collaborative efforts.”
In 2016, Panora Telco also assisted PRIDE in this development project. The local communications cooperative provided a $10,000 donation to the group to help purchase the north parcel. With the donations from both banks and Panora Telco, we were able get this done more quickly.