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Envisioning Estherville’s future

By Staff | Jun 22, 2010

The swinging bridge over the Des Moines River is going to be a key focal point for development after the public submitted photos for a community visioning project last week. Photos submitted

Estherville residents had the opportunity last week to share their ideas on how to improve the community visually in two sessions last week hosted by the Estherville visioning committee – one Friday at the Estherville Chamber of Commerce office and the other Saturday at the Estherville Public Library Community Room.

The workshop was the result of a long process of gathering public comments on transportation needs and enhancements in the community.

Residents brought digital photos of both good and bad views in the community at Friday’s session. On Saturday, the public met with a landscape architect at the library regarding design ideas. The workshop concluded with a reception and review of designs Saturday at the Estherville Public Library Community Room.

“I very much enjoyed working with those folks,” said Estherville Mayor Lyle Hevern about the project, noting that he was pleased with the designs they presented.

The public brought in about 150 photos of various community views, and the group focused on about six or seven priorities based on the frequency of photos submitted. Key features included the city library, improving landscaping around city entrance signs and improvements on Central Avenue.

A rendering of how downtown Estheville could appear. Estherville residents submitted 150 photos which the design team used to help pinpoint areas of potential development throughout the community.

One idea Hevern noted as particularly interesting was various possible uses for he former railroad right of way extending from the South 15th Street park north to North 14th Street.

“They came up with some pretty creative ideas for that,” said Hevern, noting a neighborhood park and basketball court as among the options. “They had a lot of ideas that hadn’t been thought of before. They came up with ideas you thought you could actually implement.”

The design team also offered some ideas for visual improvements in Riverside and Michaelson parks. “Just because they’re in the flood plain doesn’t mean you can’t do anything with it,” Hevern said.

Hevern said the design team was particularly taken with rock garden. “It was one of the most historically significant botanical gardens they’ve every seen,” Hevern said.

Hevern said the design team also focused on the outdoor pool. Hevern said the city, in conjunction with Excel! Estherville, will conduct a major pool feasibility study on ways to improve the outdoor city pool with slides and zero depth areas.

“They made this planning process fairly effortless,” Hevern said of the design team.

The Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation in partnership with Iowa State University Extension Landscape Architecture and Trees Forever.