- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - The riverfront in Burlington may soon feature more greenery, less parking and a dual summer splash park and winter ice rink to serve as part of the city’s flood mitigation efforts.

The Hawk Eye (https://bit.ly/1SjCo16 ) reports that two firms planning the $26.2 million project met with city officials and business and community leaders Thursday to discuss the plan.

Illinois-based Veenstra & Kimm Inc. and Wisconsin-based SmithGroup JJR proposed aesthetic improvements that only represent about 3 percent of the project’s funds, but will be the most visible changes.

“There’s only so much money,” said Leo Foley, a civil engineer with Veenstra & Kimm Inc. “The question becomes, where do you get the most bang for your buck?”

A flood wall will be built to protect the downtown area if the Mississippi River rises to 28 feet, which is more than 2 feet higher than the record-breaking flood in 2008. A lot of the construction to build the foundation for the wall is underground.

“When you tear out the land to put the floodwall in, you have to repair it,” Foley said. “The $850,000 is for reparation.”

The area will also feature shaded space and lawns and a paved area for the splash and ice park. An arbor, wedding lawn and floating boardwalk along the water are also possibilities being considered.

The plan would result in the loss of about 90 to 120 parking spaces in the area.

“There has to be a tradeoff,” said Cassie Goodwin, a civil engineer at SmithGroup JJR. “You only have one riverfront. You have one jewel where the crux of downtown meets the riverfront.”

Construction is expected to begin next spring or summer.


Information from: The Hawk Eye, https://www.thehawkeye.com

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