Photos by Adam Burke
At a community forum on Wednesday, Jan. 28, Iowa City urban planners presented several plans for a new park in the southwestern section part of the Riverfront Crossings District, set to take the place of the sewage treatment facility that was destroyed in the 2008 flood. Plans for the park included a whitewater park on the Iowa River, as well as a wetlands basin designed to ease flooding and overflow from Ralston Creek.
One of attendees — Grant Schultz of Versaland — questioned whether the small footprint of the proposed wetlands would provide a measurable catchment basin for the runoff from Ralston Creek. Dudley said the project was a starting point and an opportunity to improve water quality. He admitted that it would be better “to do that throughout your watershed — not just at the bottom but distributed throughout the system.” The wetland proposal is based at the end of the water system.
Later, Schultz pointed out that the Johnson County Administration building is inside the 500-year floodplain, along with the North Wastewater Treatment Plant that the city plans to demolish using money from a flood mitigation grant. Schultz is a member of the environmental group Ecopolis, which has proposed repurposing the decommissioned sewage plant into a community center. Ecopolis is hosting their own community forum, titled “Shaping a Bold Vision for the Riverfront Park,” on Feb. 21 at the Iowa City Public Library.