Posts tagged City Council

Deconstruction vs. demolition: a green way to handle flooded homes?

Michael Richards, president of the Oakhill/Jackson Neighborhood Association, has been working on a “Good Jobs/Green Garages” effort since the floods. Some of that is detailed in an article in the Sunday, March 8, 2009, issue of the Gazette:

 

http://tinyurl.com/bdn94m

 

Here is more from Michael about those efforts:

 

   “We have added a very important layer of innovation and action to Good Jobs/Green Garages:

   As Neighborhood Assn. President, I have been approached by flooded residents in their 70s and 80s that do not have the time, energy or financing to Rehab/Rebuild.   We are pairing these elderly residents with former Metro High students that are now in their mid twenties, energetic, employed and ready to engage limited money with “sweat equity” to gain first time home ownership by rehab and retrofit of these flooded homes they are purchasing from the above noted elderly flood victims.  We have one rehab/retrofit  Next Generation Home Ownership project already underway in Oakhill Jackson.   We have also paired an elderly resident/ and a young new homeowner in Time Check to work with  this model of community recovery.

   My goal is this:  Create the working model. Then, if the City Government wants to get on board, fine, if not, well, we’ll keep working away to rebuild this city one step at a time from the ground up.”

 

 

   From Cindy, again: Rod Scott, who is also featured in the Gazette article, realizes not every flooded home can be saved. But he questions why so many that could be rebuilt are being torn down. He asks if it’s because the city is encouraging demolition, especially of homes in modest-income neighborhoods. Rod, who is president of the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance, notes that many of the homes are structurally sound. “They’re just flooded buildings,” he said. “They can be cleaned up and rebuilt.”

 

 

   Cedar Rapids City Council member  Tom Podzimek added to the city’s discussion of sustainability when it comes to rebuilding from the floods in one area that hit home. For city gardeners, it might not be a popular idea, but a suggestion that has been proposed in the past would be to sell land that has city gardens – presumably the Squaw Creek gardens, as the Ellis area often floods – and allow developers to build private housing there. The tradeoff would be offering leased city gardens in the city’s new green zone, where flooded homes have been bought out and removed. “Why get in a car and drive five miles?” Podzimek asked, when the “greener” model would be having gardens located near the people who use them.

   Other ideas for the green zone have included soccer and baseball fields and dog parks. Podzimek said some residents want those entities in areas not prone to flooding, but he said it makes more sense to have homes and structures built away from flood zones and use the 250 acres or so of new green space for those “flood resilient” projects, such as ball fields.

Advertisements

Comments (1) »

Oakhill garden update

What seemed like a straight-forward proposal turns out not to be with the Cedar Rapids City Council and the Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood’s plan for a community garden. Rick Smith’s Eye on the Island blog mentions the red tape the group has encountered. Following is the latest correspondence from Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association president Michael Richards:

From: Michael Richards, President/Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood ASSN.

To: Ms.Sina/Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation

 

Dear Ms.Sina;

 

The City Council made a decision to back the establishment of a community demonstration garden in the Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood nearly one month ago at the City Council meeting on March 26th.

 

We are in Iowa where we have a limited growing season.    The extended delays with getting this timely project launched are a mark of extreme inefficiency in our local City government.   If a business operated with such extreme inefficiency, it would be out of business in short order.

 

You are now telling me that you have to “take this back to City Council” after a formal decision was already made on this same project by the City Council one month ago?

 

This is a very well organized community effort.  The Oakhill Jackson Community Garden Project is not a random group of people heading out to a city park with a hoe.

 

Below is the list of organizations that are providing funding and gardening expertise to this exemplary community project;

 

1. Linn County Master Gardeners of the Linn County Extension Service/Iowa State University

2. Iowa Network for Community Agriculture This Statewide organization of professional operators of

    CSA/farms all over the State of Iowa are providing funding and expertise.

3. Practical Farmers of Iowa  (statewide organization that supports sustainable agriculture)

4. Kalona Organics (a coalition or Amish family farms that are binging healthy food to Iowa

5. The Kalona/Organics-Metro High fresh produce project

6. Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (six county soil and water conservation organization that includes Linn County.

7. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University

8.I-Food Local Food Coalition (about 40 local organizations are participating including United Way, Prairiewoods, Grinnell College, ISU, and many local elected officials.

 

 

Back to Cindy: Rick Smith said it looks more likely that the garden will go somewhere other than what the neighborhood association had hoped for. More undoubtedly will follow.

 

Leave a comment »