We are heading into a magical time of year. A time for giving. A time for sharing. A time for celebration and reflection.
At the Ames Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission, we are reflecting on all of our blessings in 2017. And in that reflection, we are remembering all the things that make Ames so wonderful.
On December 13 we will celebrate the past year at our Annual Event. This year’s event features someone truly special and unique – magician and Ames native Nate Staniforth. He’s a hometown kid who followed his dream, went into the world and honed his craft, and who is returning home to help us rediscover the magic that is Ames.
In his new book, Real Magic, Nate says “As we get older it becomes harder to be truly amazed by anything. And in the hustle of daily living it’s easy to forget how everything looked before it became ordinary.”
Through his magic, Nate wants to help us see things the way they were before they became ordinary. Think about that for a minute. Magic isn’t about smoke and mirrors. Nor is it about tricking us into believing something that isn’t real.
Magic is about our perception of reality – seeing things in a new way.
So many things we have grown accustomed to, and frankly have taken for granted, are truly unique when we stop to think about them.
A week ago we celebrated the annexation east of Ames with the announcement of the Prairie View Industrial Center. This 730-acres of prime development land is centrally-located on two major highways and has double-rail access, making it an ideal location for industrial relocation or an expansion project.
This development is a tremendous opportunity for Ames and Central Iowa. It will create new opportunities for Iowa businesses while also attracting new companies. It will create jobs and spur economic growth in the region.
This development brings incredible promise to our future, and one of its main selling points is something that I think we take for granted all too often: trains.
If you’ve ever been stuck on Duff while a double train passes midday, no doubt you have uttered a name in vain. We begrudge the inconvenience of being stopped in traffic, yet how many of us have jobs – directly or indirectly – because the railroad passes through Ames? When was the last time you stopped and actually thought about how amazing and life-changing our railways and trains have been?
As Nate says, “You can still find magic around you if you remember to look.” I hope we never grow so accustomed to the ordinary that we forget to celebrate the extraordinary opportunities before us right here in Ames.
Let’s take a cue from Nate and rediscover the magic of Ames. Let’s look at Ames the way we saw it before it became ordinary.
One of our greatest attractions in Ames is Iowa State University. How many of us came to Ames because of a job, or a scholarship, or because of the amenities a college town provides? Yet we take it for granted. We sigh in relief when the students go home on break, yet aren’t the students one of the biggest reasons we are here?
I hear so many people say “There’s no where to shop in Ames.” Well, actually, there is. You just need to open your eyes and see things differently. We have hundreds of businesses right here in Ames. One-of-a-kind shops in Campustown and Somerset, multi-generation businesses in downtown, and locally-owned stores along our main corridors. There are many places to shop in Ames, we just need to look at them with new eyes.
So this holiday season I challenge you to see Ames in a new way, to see the things that make us unique in a new light. Let’s make Ames the best place to live, work and do business. Let’s celebrate the magic of Ames.
-Dan Culhane, President & CEO