When he moved to Granger in 1978, Granger mayor Tom Schenk hit the ground running. “There was a town meeting that was really well attended, and they listed the community’s needs,” he says. “We needed clean streets, an ambulance and a community center.” Schenk’s volunteer efforts were focused on the need for an ambulance. “That was my start to serving the city,” he says. He served as captain of the ambulance team for many years.
Schenk was invited to run for city council after he’d met most of Granger, generating support for the ambulance. “By then, everybody knew me,” he said. Eight terms, 16 years, later, he was elected mayor. It’s a positive experience, Schenk says, noting that in his 12 years as mayor, he has the pleasure of working with a great city council. “Here, everybody works for the common good. Positive action makes this a great community to live in – we have a small-town feel and great amenities.”
Granger is nestled amid Beaver Creek, Jester State Park and Saylorville Recreation Area; that location is a great asset for growth and development. And it comes with responsibility. “We have so many natural areas connected to Granger,” Schenk points out. “Why bulldoze natural areas when we can utilize them?” The city has its own water system, and is putting in a new sewer plant in anticipation of growth.
In growing green, Granger will use those natural resources for water management as well. Rather than pipes in the ground to fill a pond with rain runoff and snow melt, for instance, natural waterways will be utilized in new developments. Running water will be directed toward the natural waterway. “We will have bioswales and rain gardens, permeable pavements – technology that is coming into practice, so that we are protecting the environment and not sending water downstream that might pick up pollutants out of driveways.
“Our design is not square, but something more fluid, using natural resources,” Schenk continues. “Granger sits where we have a lot of wildlife and drainage ways; we’ll take advantage of that.”
The circus is coming to town! “It’s the first time in 83 years that the circus has been in Granger, and we’re excited,” Schenk says. Carson and Barnes Circus will be in Granger on August 8. This is one way Granger hopes to appeal to citizens and guests. “Our demographics are changing. Now it’s younger, mainly 25 to 35,” Schenk says. “So the question is, what do these younger families want and how do we provide that?” Outdoor experiences, from water sports and fishing, to bike trails and exercise options are all on the drawing board.
But equally important are the activities, such as the circus, that draw citizens together. The last Saturday before Labor Day, Granger churches come together for Praise Day. “That’s a great family event,” Schenk says. And Granger Days is September 20 to 22 this year. “These are the things that bring us together, and that’s important, so we know who our neighbors are.”