The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

October 1, 2013

Millville in NE Iowa seeks to end city status

MILLVILLE, Iowa (AP) — On a warm fall afternoon, with the Turkey River lazing by, pampas grass rustling and cicadas buzzing loudly, it's easy to see why folks settled Millville years ago.

The tiny Clayton County town, bordered by U.S. 52 to the east and timbered bluffs to the west, stretches from the river to the north and a county road three-quarters of a mile south.

When the thin strip of valley south of Guttenberg filled with families and businesses in the 1950s and '60s, townsfolk decided to incorporate themselves into a formal municipality. Millville became an official Iowa town in 1967.

Longtime Millville resident Jim Hankes remembers two grocery stores, four gas stations, two taverns, restaurants and a creamery.

"Everyone was happy and got along. We all wanted to live 'in the country,' where it was quiet," said Hankes, who has served as the Millville mayor or on the City Council since the 1970s.

But the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports ( ) Millville today is a ghost of its bustling past with a handful of structures, 21 residents and few operating businesses. So Hankes and his fellow city officials have voted to end their town as an official entity.

They have requested permission from Iowa's City Development Board to unincorporate and are organizing their town's demise. The board will rule on the request, likely in November, and probably will take over paying Millville's bills. The secretary of state must make the final decision on Millville's fate, but if Millville submits its paperwork by year's end, the town will cease to exist, explained Matt Rasmussen, development board administrator.

"With so few people, it's hard to get people to serve as officials, and it's a lot of work for what we get," said City Clerk Jessica Bittner, who also has served on the council.

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