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May 2021

April 2021

Annual water quality report now available online

A graphic promoting the 2020 Iowa City Water Quality Report shows a person sipping from a glass of water.

The City of Iowa City has posted its latest water quality report, also known as the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to its website at www.icgov.org/ccreport. The 2020 report indicates that Iowa City drinking water far surpasses all federal and state drinking water quality standards.

Iowa City’s water supply is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Since 1999, the EPA has required municipalities to report to its residents each year on the quality of its drinking water and include information on water sources and water treatment methods, as well as information on impurities that may have been present in the local drinking water. The EPA requires the monitoring of more than 80 drinking water impurities. 

In addition to the web version of the report, printed copies are available by calling 319-356-5160. City Hall is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the report can be mailed to you upon request.

For more information, contact the Water Office at 319-356-5160.


Iowa City Police investigate suspicious death

On April 28, at 8:04 p.m., Iowa City Police Officers responded to the 2400 Block of Lakeside Drive, Iowa City, to a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, Officers located an adult male victim with gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and was later pronounced deceased. The victim has been positively identified by the Johnson County Medical Examiner's Office; however, the victim’s name is being withheld at this time pending notification of the family.  An autopsy is currently being conducted by the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

No further information is being released at this time pending the results of the autopsy and family notifications. This incident remains under active investigation by the Iowa City Police Department, the Johnson County Medical Examiner's Office, and the Johnson County Attorney’s Office.


How you can help:

Iowa City Police are asking for the public's help to identify anyone involved with this incident. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Eric Nieland at 319-356-5456 or Eric-Nieland@iowa-city.org.

Iowa City Area Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information about this incident that leads to an arrest. Crime Stoppers tips can be submitted via the P3 Tips app, online at iccrimestoppers.org, or by phone at 319-358-TIPS (8477). All tips and calls are held in strict confidence and anonymity is guaranteed. Individuals providing information are not required to reveal their identity to collect a reward.


Glendale Park improvements open house slated for May 13

Current playground at Glendale Park

The above photo shows some of the current playground equipment at Glendale Park. 


The Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department is seeking the public's input on improvements at Glendale Park, 1250 East Jefferson Street.

The playground, new shelter, paved path, and creek access area are scheduled to be replaced in the spring of 2022. The public is invited to attend a public input open house from 5:30 - 7 p.m. Thursday, May 13, 2021 at Glendale Park. Masks are required for those in attendance. 

Project consultants from Snyder & Associates will be present to answer questions and discuss project details with residents. Neighbors are encouraged to stop in throughout the scheduled time.

For those who cannot make it to the in-person open house, park improvement renderings will be listed online along with a survey for public feedback starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 14, 2021. The public is asked to submit feedback by 8 a.m. Friday, May 21, 2021.

For more information about the Glendale Park improvement project or to submit the public input feedback survey, visit icgov.org/ParkProjects


COUNCIL STREET NE CLOSURE

Cedar RapidsCEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Starting on Monday, May 3, improvements will begin on Council Street NE between Collins Road and Blairs Ferry Road. Starting on May 3, the intersection of Council Street and 51st Street / Park Place will be closed for approximately four (4) weeks. Following the intersection closure, Council Street will remain open with lane reductions in effect for the remainder of the project, which is scheduled to be completed late summer. Improvements include an asphalt pavement overlay, intersection replacement, new sidewalk and ADA sidewalk ramps, and minor utility work (water main, sanitary sewer service).


T-Mobile is hiring Hometown Experts in Coralville with Virtual Career Fair on May 5th

T-Mobile is launching the Hometown Expert program, an innovative approach for rural communities. Hometown Experts will serve as official T-Mobile representatives in areas without retail locations — think of them as a one-person shop, minus the physical storefront.​ Over the next two years, we plan to hire 2,500 Hometown Experts in 2,500 small towns nationwide. Hometown Expert openings have already posted and we want to encourage people in Cedar Rapids and surrounding cities Waterloo, Rapid City, Cedar Falls, and Iowa City to apply. T-Mobile is also hosting a virtual career fair on May 5th. Those who are interested can apply at https://t-mobilenetworking.vfairs.com.

This hiring initiative is a part of T-Mobile’s  massive commitment to bring  5G to rural America, hire 7,500 new employees in small towns and rural communities over the next few years, and provide $25 million in grants for community development projects.

To celebrate, T-Mobile is also awarding one lucky town a Hometown Techover with a prize package worth a $3 million that includes:

  • A $200,000 T-Mobile Hometown Grant and consulting services from Smart Growth America
  • Little League® field refurbishment including a tech upgrade and T-Mobile Little League Call Up Grant support
  • Free concert with 18-time chart – topping multi-platinum duo Florida Georgia Line
  • AND MORE! 

T-Mobile is taking entries until May 7, 2021. Anyone can enter their town at T-MobileHometownTechover.com.


Spring is yard sign season – make sure they are placed on your property and not in the public right of way

Yard Signs

IOWA CITY -- Whether it's for a garage sale, home rental, or political support, yard signs are a great way to share messages with neighbors. In Iowa City, residents must place these signs on their residential property. Be sure to follow these basic rules:

  • Signs must be on the resident's property – not within the right of way 
  • Signs on a corner lot cannot block the vision triangle of the street

Public Right of Way 

The strip of land between the street and sidewalk is called the public right of way and is technically City property. This area may contain water, sewer, gas, and other utilities below the surface. It is important to maintain easy access to these utilities and to keep it clear of visual clutter that can distract drivers or hinder those using sidewalks. Property owners are still required to maintain that land, and it is important to keep it free of signs and other encumbrances.  

Illegal Sign Removal

As time allows, City staff will remove signs from the public right of way if observed or if they are reported. Signs are removed without regard to content. City staff will not remove signs from private property. When a sign is placed in the vision triangle, staff will contact the resident and grant a reasonable amount of time to move the sign to an appropriate location. For questions about sign location, call 319-356-5123.

Reclaiming a Sign 

Each year, the City collects a large amount of material from the City right of way. Metal sign holders may be reused by staff for other City purposes before ultimately being recycled. Signs are typically kept for a week before being recycled or landfilled. If a sign was mistakenly placed in the wrong location, there is a chance the City may still have it. To inquire, call 319-356-5123. 

More Information 

Keep these rules in mind to make the most of signs. For more information, contact Building Specialist Marnie Teagle at 319-356-5123. 


In-person Iowa City Farmers Market begins Saturday, May 1 at Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp

New public art is shown at the Chauncey Swan Parking ramp in Iowa City.

With flowers and trees blooming throughout town, it's time for a City spring tradition to begin: the Iowa City Farmers Market!

The in-person Farmers Market begins Saturday, May 1, 2021, in the first level of the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp. Due to the pandemic, all visitors to the market must wear a mask over their mouth and nose while in the ramp. 

Masks are just one of the safety precautions the market is using this year:

  • The number of vendors present has been reduced.
  • The number of people who can be in the ramp will be controlled at both the north and south entrances. All visitors are asked to enter by only the north and south entrances.  
  • Customers should eat or drink all products outside of the parking ramp.

The Iowa City Farmers Market runs from 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays and 7:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays from May through October. 

To get more information about the market, including a map of vendors, visit icgov.org/FarmersMarket. 


Iowa City to host virtual open house for Court Street reconstruction

Map of the Court Street Reconstruction Project.

Initial designs have begun on the Court Street Reconstruction Project, so make sure to attend a virtual open house to learn more about the planned improvements.

The City is hosting a virtual open house from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, 2021, to present the upcoming Court Street Reconstruction Project. The meeting will take place via Zoom.

A formal presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. The design consultant and City staff will be available to answer questions following the presentation. 

The project includes the reconstruction of Court Street from Muscatine Avenue to First Avenue, with road work set to begin in 2023. The project includes pavement replacement, sidewalk replacement and upgrades, storm and sanitary sewer upgrades, and water main upgrades. 

How to participate

Residents interested can participate by joining the Zoom meeting:

For more information

Questions about the project can be directed to Civil Engineer Ethan Yoder at 319-356-5415 or ethan-yoder@iowa-city.org

You can also reach out to Project Manager Michael Fahrer of Foth Infrastructure and Environment at 319-297-2084 or michael.fahrer@foth.com.

Visit the project web page to learn more.

Accommodations

If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in this event, please contact Civil Engineer Ethan Yoder at 319-356-5145 or ethan-yoder@iowa-city.org. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.


Virtual meeting to discuss North Westminster Storm Sewer Upgrades scheduled for May 13

A map of the North Westminster Storm Sewer Upgrades locations.

City of Cedar Rapids Earns $7 Million USDA-NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Project Funding Agreement, Will Lead Cedar River Source Water Partnership

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services announced recipients of its 2020-21 Regional Conservation Partnership Project (RCPP) funding on Monday, April 26. The City of Cedar Rapids’ project, entitled Cedar River Source Water Partnership (CRSWP), will receive $7,028,362 in RCPP funding to improve water quality in the Cedar River.

The CRSWP is a collaboration among communities and agricultural partners to improve degraded water quality conditions threatening public and private source water supplies. The project will support on-the-ground conservation practices on farmland and provide direct technical assistance to producers and other agricultural stakeholders. The partnership is a continuation of the City’s efforts working upstream in agricultural areas to improve water quality in the Cedar River. Investment in upstream watershed areas provides direct benefits to the City such as improving drinking water quality and reducing flood flows.

“Cedar Rapids has been recognized nationally for our work to improve water quality,” said Roy Hesemann, utilities director for the City of Cedar Rapids. “With the Middle Cedar Partnership Project, we helped install real water quality improvement practices with demonstrable benefits. The Cedar River Source Water Partnership will take what we learned from that project and scale up our efforts to improve water quality in the Cedar River.”

The City of Cedar Rapids — in close collaboration with the City of Charles City and 10 additional jurisdictional, agricultural and media partners — will lead the CRSWP. The project will link cities in the Cedar River Watershed with vulnerable drinking water supplies to their agricultural neighbors. The project’s overarching goal is to improve water quality and protect source water in the Cedar River Watershed. Other expected project benefits include reduced flood flows to downstream communities and improved fish and wildlife habitat. The project partners will bring an estimated $10,495,078 in match contributions, with an anticipated total project investment of more than $17.5 million. The City of Cedar Rapids anticipates it will provide at least $1,496,000 in matching funds to the partnership, largely in the form of technical support.

The City’s watershed efforts ramped up in 2015 with the launch of the Middle Cedar Partnership Project, also funded through USDA-NRCS with support from multiple agencies and farming organizations. The CRSWP builds off the success of MCPP, expanding into the entire Cedar River Watershed, and launching a new phase of public-private partnerships with Land O’ Lakes Truterra and agricultural retailers including Linn Coop, Heartland Coop, Landus, and IAS.

“We are so proud for this opportunity to continue our work with producers and landowners upstream,” said Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz. “Cedar Rapids has demonstrated experience leveraging RCPP funding to build public-private partnerships and make marked water quality improvements.”

On Monday, NRCS announced it will invest $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships through RCPP. The projects are meant to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnership working at its best,” said Terry Cosby, Acting Chief for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “These new projects will harness the power of partnership to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country while supporting our efforts to combat the climate crisis.”

With CRSWP, the majority of the USDA-NRCS funds will go directly to producers to implement practices such as cover crops, wetlands, bioreactors and saturated buffers. These farmland conservation practices are proven to significantly reduce nitrate runoff from farm fields. In addition to benefiting the Cedar Rapids drinking water supply, these practices will also help the State of Iowa meet its obligations under the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy to reduce nitrate loading to the Mississippi River.

The City of Cedar Rapids Utilities Department will serve as the project lead. The eleven contributing partners are Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Land O’ Lakes Truterra, City of Charles City, Linn County Conservation Board, The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Ingredion Inc, Iowa Future Farmers of America, and iHeart Media / WHO Radio. Additional project partners will be brought on in the coming months to provide targeted education and outreach services.

# # #

Through RCPP, conservation partners work in collaboration with NRCS to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners throughout the nation to implement systems that conserve water and soil resources, improve the health of wildlife habitats and increase climate resilience. For more information, visit the RCPP website.