Fruitful plans for Waverly flood buyout properties - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fruitful plans for Waverly flood buyout properties

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

An Eastern Iowa community is finding a fruitful use for several of its flood buy-out properties. Waverly was among many towns which dealt with record flood levels in 2008. The city is now in the process of buying nearly 70 properties along the Cedar River. The city has purchased 43 homes so far.

The challenge cities like Waverly face, is how to use the flood buyout land. They don't want to have large areas with nothing but green space, and yet communities are not allowed to build permanent structures on these grounds.

Waverly is hoping a national grant competition will provide a fruitful solution for their community.

"We don't just want to have there be bare lots. That's not a good productive way to use it," said Director of Leisure Services Tab Ray. "I basically did a search on the internet to find some ideas."

Ray found a national contest, which is giving the city a chance to, shall we say, branch out. Waverly is applying for a grant to build a community orchard in eight neighboring buyout lots.

"They provide the trees and they plant the trees and teach you how to maintain them," said Ray.

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation will transform the area by planting native fruit trees in the barren blocks.

"We're going to do apples, cherries and pears because those are the fruits that grow in this climate," said Ray.

Local organizations like Trees Forever and the ISU Extension Office will help care for the budding branches. The fruit produced will feed hungry families in the Cedar Valley Community.

"We want to give fruit out of the orchard to the free meal programs. And there's several churches that do that in town. And then also the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, which serves Bremer County and 16 other counties in Northeast Iowa," Ray explained.

You might say, it's a good way to turn lemons into lemonade... or in this case, apples, cherries, and pears. Keeping in mind, this is a long term investment in the community.

"You have to wait about three years before you get fruit of your labor!" Ray joked.

Waverly needs to win the Communities Take Root contest to follow through on their plans. 25 of the 120 potential projects will receive funding. You can vote once a day by clicking here.

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