Eagle Grove sets sights on downtown

Public hearing upcoming to discuss main street improvements

-Messenger file photo by Chad Thompson
Downtown Eagle Grove along West Broadway Street could see upgrades to things like street lights, street furniture, and sidewalks in 2020.

EAGLE GROVE — The city of Eagle Grove is eyeing improvements to things such as sidewalks, street furniture, and lights along the city’s main street, West Broadway Street.

Those potential improvements are part of the city’s downtown revitalization efforts, which are still in the planning stages.

“It’s not fully developed yet,” said Eagle Grove City Administrator Bryce Davis. “We will be presenting some different concepts in July to the public and be discussing the funding behind different components.”

The first public hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. July 15 at Eagle Grove City Hall.

Davis said the focus of the improvements will be on the streetscape.

“We are looking at the public improvement side to it,” Davis said. “There’s going to be the opportunity for the community to provide comments and the council to deliberate.”

At least part of the funding for the downtown project will be tied to the city’s expansion of its wastewater treatment plant.

Because the city invested in a new plant that is designed to improve water quality, it is eligible for financial help in other initiatives that also improve water quality, according to Davis.

“The financing behind the streetscape renovations would be that we are looking to utilize as much of our allocation of (Water Resource Restoration) sponsored project funds that the city has allocated from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund based on the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant,” Davis said. “There are some features we can implement downtown that are very similar to what Algona did in some of their areas to improve water quality, but also create more of a walkable and functional downtown that creates the aesthetics we are trying to go for.”

In Algona, for instance, there is a parking lot north of East State Street that filters out nitrates before the water goes into the storm sewer and ultimately enters the Des Moines River.

That’s accomplished through pavers that are specifically designed to collect and filter out nitrates.

Through the CWSRF, Davis said between $1.4 and $1.6 million could be captured and used for the streetscape project.

“It’s not a loan,” Davis said. “It’s technically not a grant. We pay it back through interest on wastewater funds.”

In order for the city to recoup that money, the project must improve water quality.

Storm water tree trenches, porous paving, and stormwater capture areas, are examples of projects that could be implemented on main street and would improve water quality, according to Davis.

A stormwater tree trench is a system of trees connected by an underground infiltration structure. Porous pavement is a specially designed pavement system that allows water to infiltrate through the pavement and never become runoff. And a stormwater bumpout is a vegetated curb that extends into the street, creating a new curb some distance from the existing curb.

In terms of financing, the city will also use tax increment financing to help with any extras such as benches, trash receptacles, and street lights the community decides on.

Davis said there’s going to be a focus on implementing the right features to accommodate larger vehicles that may need to travel through the area.

“We are a rural community,” he said. “So that means we have semis and agriculture equipment and vehicles. We want them to have the turning radius required for those vehicles. We don’t want them popping curbs.”

When construction does begin, Davis said the city will work to ensure that people have access to all businesses and apartments in the area.

Decisions will also be made based on how the city can maintain the new features.

“We need to also make sure we are implementing the right features for maintenance, understanding that we have to maintain those features for 10 years or more based on agreements we will sign,” Davis said. “We want it to be visually attractive while also able to be maintained.”

Davis said the goal is to move forward with the streetscape project by August, with the hope of construction beginning sometime in 2020.