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Community members discuss the future of the Riverfront Crossings District


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.

Caption
Iowa City Councilor Jim Throgmorton listened to presentations at the Riverfront Crossings Park community forum. The drafts of park plans will go through a series of revisions before the Parks and Recreation Commission can approve them, then the plans will head to the City Council for final approval.
Russ Dudley (left) from Tetra Tech, an engineering firm, discusses the wetland proposal, one of the proposed features of the Riverfront Crossings Park, with Grant Schultz of Versaland, a farm and sustainability lab in Iowa City. The wetlands basin will catch some of the Ralston Creek overflow.
Russ Dudley (left) from Tetra Tech, an engineering firm, discusses the wetland proposal (one of the proposed features of the Riverfront Crossings Park) with Grant Schultz of Versaland, a farm and sustainability lab in Iowa City. The wetlands basin will catch some of the Ralston Creek overflow.

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.

City planners invited public commentary on a whitewater park, wetlands reclamation and proposed plans for the Riverfront Crossings Park. They will be taking more suggestions as the project continues.
City planners invited public commentary on a whitewater park, wetlands reclamation and proposed plans for the Riverfront Crossings Park. They will be taking more suggestions as the project continues.
Renaissance Design Group’s Sustainability and Stewardship Director Pat Boddy presented a plan for the Riverfront Crossings Park that included a dog park, community gardens, native plantings, a wetlands area with a boardwalk and zip-line towers. The meeting was held at the Park Lodge at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, 579 McCollister Boulevard. Find out more about the Riverfront Crossings District at the City’s webpage.
Renaissance Design Group’s Sustainability and Stewardship Director Pat Boddy presented a plan for the Riverfront Crossings Park that included a dog park, community gardens, native plantings, a wetlands area with a boardwalk and zip-line towers. The meeting was held at the Park Lodge at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, 579 McCollister Boulevard. Find out more about the Riverfront Crossings District at the City’s webpage.
A map of the proposed Riverfront Crossings Park.
A map of the proposed Riverfront Crossings Park.

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