Ely, Iowa (pop: 2,074) is a progressive community located in the thriving Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor. Ely has been welcoming new citizens to its neighborhoods in record numbers and the city has undergone tremendous growth over the last couple decades. Even with the influx of new residents, the community has not forgotten its past. Many of the historical buildings are still standing in Ely’s historic Dows Street business district and City Hall’s residence at the old Ely School House. Both areas are included on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Ely is located in the College Community School district. Students attend any of the five elementary schools in the Prairie Community School System. Students in middle school and high school attend Prairie Middle School and Prairie High School.
With three private four-year colleges, several universities and technical colleges, and an outstanding two-year community college, advanced education carries a high profile in our education structure. Four-year private colleges nearby such as Coe, Mount Mercy, and Cornell provide outstanding achievements in higher education. The Cedar Rapids campus of Kirkwood College provide a variety of two-year degree programs.
Big Ten academics thrive just 20 miles south of Ely at the University of Iowa, home of the Hawkeyes. The University of Iowa is a major public research university with a long-standing commitment to teaching, research, and service. About 25,000 undergraduates and 9,000 graduate and professional students are enrolled in the University’s 11 colleges. The university also has one of the most extensive arts campuses in the country. Performances and exhibitions by world-class artists, along with year-round conferences, lectures, and Big Ten athletics, attract more than a million visitors to the campus each year.
The city of Ely offers Fall Fest, an annual festival held all throughout the town. The festival typically takes place in late September-early October. Fall Fest offers a variety of activities from a 5k race to a car show and a whole host of other family-friendly events.
Community Center Park
Located right outside of Ely City Hall, Community Center Park features a playground, tennis court, and single-hoop basketball court.
Ely City Park
Recreational opportunities are numerous at Ely City Park. The park features an entrance to the 2.7-mile-long Hoover Trail, which stretches from Ely to Cedar Rapids. Visitors can fish the Ely Pond found within the parks boundaries. The park is a central location for Ely’s recreation leagues, including baseball, flag football, and soccer for the local youth.
The George Reyhons Pavilion sits in the park and is equipped with picnic tables, counter space, a grill for charcoal cooking, electricity, lighting, restroom, playground, and open space for games or parking. The pavilion may be rented for $10 per day through City Hall.
Nestled quietly off the west side of Vavra Drive, picnic tables, a half-court basketball, and playground are offered at this quiet, streamside location.
Smart Rural Community
The City of Ely is designated an NTCA (National Broadband Association) Smart Rural Community based on the communication networks and efforts made by South Slope Cooperative Communications. The company delivers high-speed internet, phone, and television to Ely. The Smart Rural Community award showcases efforts made by telecommunications companies that make rural communities like Ely vibrant places in which to live and do business.
The prestigious award highlights South Slope’s fiber-optic deployment efforts in Ely and other Corridor communities. The effort is vital to the economic growth and educational success of local rural communities. The goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative is to foster the development of smart communities throughout rural America by encouraging innovative implementation of broadband solutions. NTCA also requires awardees, like South Slope, to give access to next-generation applications for distance learning, telehealth services, public safety and security.