What Does the Town of Atlantic Need?

Cass County’s Economic Director has some Ideas for what Atlantic Needs.


Da'Jai Wesson

During the holiday season, downtown Atlantic is covered in Christmas lights and decorations.

Jocelyn McEntaffer and Jersey Phippen

With just above 6,700 people in Atlantic, Iowa, there’s so much to offer. But what else could be added to the town? 

Jennifer McEntaffer, the Economic Director of Cass county, said what she’s working on right now and what Atlantic needs to offer. Some things McEntaffer likes about Atlantic are the “beautiful” parks and trails. “We are also very fortunate to have the YMCA and all of its activities. The YMCA appeals to all ages,” she said. Her interests outside of work and daily life include attending her children’s extracurriculars. She said Atlantic has a lot of options between sports and clubs to join. Some things McEntaffer feels Atlantic needs are more housing opportunities. “I think the goal is to increase the population, and that is difficult in most of rural Iowa,” she said. 

She feels as if young people want to head to big cities. She said we have many opportunities for the graduating seniors because we have a community college right here in Atlantic. McEntaffer’s plans for the next year are to help improve our town through the construction of the new splash pad. They hired a retail coach that is going to help the town get a steakhouse and possibly a nice restaurant to town. She hopes to see “infrastructure begin on the new housing development, offering lots more for people looking to build.” She plans to meet with the Board of Housing to carry out this plan. 

McEntaffer is currently working on employee recruitment and retention, which is done through the schools, colleges, and businesses themselves. She is also working with the Nishna Valley Trails Organization to “connect the T-bone trail to Atlantic.” She has a huge part in the economic development of Atlantic. 

“Atlantic is in the ideal location because it is right in the middle of two big cities,” said AHS senior Edria Brummer. Brummer would describe herself as “a voice of change and likes being involved.” She likes all the opportunities that the Park and Recreation Department provides and enjoys being involved in Shift ATL. “There are a lot of things for middle schoolers to do and not so much for high schoolers,” Brummer said. She is interested in providing more information to the adults about the younger generation. 

Freshman Chloe Lillard enjoys hanging out with her friends. Some things that Lillard likes about Atlantic is that it has a Walmart, a skate park, and even a city park. “Atlantic should offer more fast-food restaurants such as Chick-Fil-A,” Lillard said. She said she thinks bringing more restaurants to town could impact the community in a positive way.

Randall Simpson, an English teacher at Atlantic High School, said “I like Hy-Vee and Oinkers.” Something that Simpson wants to add to the town would be “a nice sit-down restaurant.” Some other types of restaurants that he would want in Atlantic are a sports bar and more pizza places. “The more opportunities that we provide, is what is going to bring business and people into our town,” said Simpson. 

Junior Abby Muller said, “I like that we offer a quarry, I love to go on walks with my dog.” She also likes that there are two different types of Mexican restaurants. “They are both good,” Muller said. “Another organization that is trying to help and provide for Atlantic is Shift ATL.” She said they are all nice ladies with great intentions. Some things Muller is interested in are volleyball, golfing, and hanging out with her friends. Muller would in the future hope to have a Target in Atlantic. “We also need another food option for nicer events,” she said. 

The community provides so much for the town of Atlantic. They have truly formed the town we know today. Not just the organizations and events, but the people. Atlantic, Iowa, “the place to be.”