The Newcomer of the Year has been selected for the upcoming 136th Corydon Old Settlers celebration and she bares the face of a former Wayne graduate that has returned to her hometown with her family.
When Amber (Alley) Rodgers and her family, husband Devin, daughter Alley, 5 and son Lenox, 3 made the move to Corydon April 1, 2017, she wasn’t sure this move was what she wanted.
“It’s funny because when we moved here I thought it was really more for Devin and my kids,” Rodgers began. “I’m from here but I never saw myself coming back here. I thought well Devin has this perfect job and my kids are going to be closer to their grandparents and be in a great community and school for them.”
“I didn’t know what it would be like for me personally coming here,” Rodgers continued. “Now I look at it and I have loved it 100 percent! I have never felt happier and more at home than I do now, even when I was growing up here.”
Rodgers is a 2003 graduate of Wayne Community School and graduated in 2007 from Iowa State University with a Business and Marketing degree.
Since making the move to Corydon from West Des Moines, Rodgers has managed to find herself very busy and found several active roles within her community. When not at home or off camping with her family, she can be often found in her new retail store Prairie Clover Market.
Opening in November of 2018 in the lobby of the Hotel Rea, Prairie Clover Market made the move into its permanent space in January of this year as a part of the Shoppes of Rea Plaza. She offers women’s clothing, jewelry, handbags, hats, shoes and other accessories as well as other handmade home and décor items made from other local vendors.
In December Rodgers was appointed to the Corydon City Council as a council member following former member Dennis Moorman being appointed as the new Mayor of Corydon. As a new member of the council, Rodgers is a part of the Parks and Recreation and the Housing sub committees.
“Being on those committees those are the areas I am really trying to focus on for the city being a member of the council,” said Rodgers. “I really want to look further into grants we can get for the parks and rec. this coming year. We talk about improving trail systems that were started by Cheri Nessen and to continue with that.”
“Housing is another thing that is a hot topic right now with the East Penn expansion,” she continued. “My husband and I have flipped a home near us so we have a little experience with renovating and doing cosmetic updates. For the city I have a vision of improving and updating some of those abandoned homes we see that have sat for years and years without updates that continue to regress and dilapidate. We can something about that as a city.”
She has been attending conferences within the Iowa League of Cities to help learn how other cities approach this issue to improve their communities.
“I think there is a great opportunity for us as a city to do something about those properties because we need those homes available for new employees coming into East Penn or the hospital or school and everywhere else,” she stated. “We need them to be available because we have a huge rental shortage and there is so many homes falling in and not being utilized.”
“I see a lot of change with the city getting involved with those for the years to come,” she stated.
Rodgers is also involved as the Vice President of the Corydon and Allerton Chamber of Commerce, a member of the First Baptist Church and helps with the Click after school program and bible school and was recently added to the Wayne Theatre Board. She also is the Retail Chair for the Chamber and helps informally set up the Shop Saturday events as well as special shopping events throughout town including Galentine’s Day, Christmas in July and the Open House for the Hotel Rea and Shoppes of the Rea Plaza.
“People tell me I’m involved in a lot and I just to encourage everyone to get involved in a way they feel comfortable and in a way they feel inspired,” said Rodgers. “Everyone has a talent or gift they can use to help our community improve no matter the age, there are ways to get involved.”
“If people want to get involved there is no better place than here,” she finished with. “There are so many opportunities here to make a difference. I feel so at home here and comfortable here and if you want to make a difference, I would love to talk to you about those ideas.”