Chamber visits press

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, April 26, 2017
There’s nothing quite like Liberty Press, the ‘living’ museum of printing presses that played host Thursday, April 20, to the West Liberty Chamber’s quarterly After Hours gathering.

Located downtown, Steve Alt has assembled a vast collection of restored printing presses, moveable type and letter cases that helped usher in the period of modernity.

“This stuff was still being highly used in the 1960s and 1970s,” said Alt, who gave demonstrations on the equipment. “This isn’t a completely dead industry as of yet.”

The West Liberty Chamber of Commerce held its quarterly After Hours event at Liberty Press, which invited the community out for food, fellowship and chance to see the recently restored showroom.

A little over two hours in length, Alt talked about his building, the presses and the help he received from wife Sandra and daughter Angela in the restoration.

“To begin with, this was as all just a little corner in my shop and one little press,” he said. “What we want to start doing is to put on classes and reach other people. We could do this every day.”

Alt is looking to have Liberty Press become an active teaching tool in West Liberty. He definitely has the knowledge needed to teach others, young and old, about the printing craft.

In addition to the 20 plus presses from various eras in history is the restored interior of the 100-year-old building on Third Street, which Alt stripped down and opened up into a beautiful showroom.

In fact, Liberty Press was awarded the 2016 Betterment Award from the Chamber of Commerce during the annual Chamber breakfast/award meeting to kick off the year.

Speaking of which, Chamber President Jens Zalzala opened up the event with a brief update about the organization, which is about to jump into a very busy season.

“We’ve had a pretty good first quarter,” he told attendees, “We’ve been really busy planning a whole bunch of events.”

So far in 2017 the Chamber has held two ribbon cuttings at Marias/Magolandia and Shaking Earth Digital. It also organized the city-wide cleanup day last Saturday, April 22.

Next up, the Chamber will team up with the family new WL Downtown Task Force in organizing the Spring Shop Hop the weekend of May 5-7.

The Shop Hop will include participation from retail shops, bars, and restaurants as well as featured events along Third Street in an effort to revitalize Historic Downtown West Liberty.

The next After Hours event will be held at Active Health Chiropractic on June 13. Plus, in the not-to-distant future is the the West Liberty Fair Parade and Picnic in the Park come July.

On that note, Chamber Director Victor Oyervides has announced his last day with the Chamber will be Monday, May 15.

Director Oyervides was hired to be the face of the organization in 2014, as well as encourage more involvement from West Liberty's large Hispanic community.

He arrived during many changes in the daily operation of the WL Chamber, which included moving to the downtown area and eventually into the Regional Learning and Cultural Center.

The Chamber will begin the hunt for a new director in May by listing the position with hopes of filling it by June.

However, President Zalzala encourages anyone interested in serving West Liberty to spend a few hours answering the phone or helping the Chamber in the interim.
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