Small town hopes more community events will keep people in town - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Small town hopes more community events will keep people in town

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One small Eastern Iowa town isn't having a problem attracting people to live there, but they are trying more things to keep people hanging out in town.

The second annual Spook Walk was held in the town of Ely Wednesday night. The event, which is hosted by local businesses, gave kids a chance to do some early trick-or-treating. It's just one of many activities community members have been putting together to keep people in the town of just over 2,000 people.

Businesses transformed their storefronts with Halloween decorations.  Others, like Cloud 9 Massage & Spa, took it to the next step by turning the business into a haunted house attraction.

It's community events like this that store owners and town leaders hope will keep people in town.  It's certainly something Ely Mayor, Eldy Miller, said can be a challenge as the town grows fast. He said there's now a high demand for more community events.

"Families just love local things in their community where they don't have to pack up and drive into a different town, and just being able to walk down the street is a wonderful addition to the community," Miller said.

The Spook Walk was also a way to get people downtown to see what businesses have to offer. Melissa Reed, owner of The Downtown Dachshund, said many people came into the boutique for the first time during the event.

"Everyday more and more people are moving to Ely. Ely is just exploding, so it's a good time for people to meet business owners, too," Reed said.

Reed and Miller said they couldn't have asked for a better turnout for an event that didn't have quite the same luck in its first year.

"[I'm] overwhelmed. Literally for a second annual, I couldn't find a place to park. All the businesses are full. The sidewalks are full, families [are] everywhere." Miller said.

In a rough estimate, the event brought out over 300 kids.

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