New Hartford plans FEMA Lot Restorations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Hartford plans FEMA Lot Restorations

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NEW HARTFORD (KWWL) -

Back in 2008, New Hartford first got hit by a tornado. Then, almost two weeks later, a flood happened.

"So 90 percent of our town was impacted by one or the other disaster," said Carol Chapman with the restoration steering committee.

Flash forward almost four years later, 23 FEMA lots are now available for restoration.

"We've left that behind. We're moving forward, and we want to renovate and renew and convince our citizens they deserve this," said Chapman.

So far, plans are in the works for seven of the lots. One is already underway as a perennial garden. Another is getting tilled for community vegetable gardens. The old Kwik Star location will hopefully be turned into a veterans memorial. A gazebo park is planned for another space, and the weeds in one empty lot could soon be replaced by fruit trees.

The potential orchard is part of a program organized by Edy's Fruit Bars and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to seed 17 neighborhoods with full fruit orchards.

"We were selected one out of 100 communities across the nation in the running for a free orchard," said Chapman.

Starting April 16th, you can vote at communitiestakeroot.com for New Hartford to get a fruit orchard. You get one vote per email address per day. Winners will be announced each month through September 1st.

While that lot restoration could be free, donations (to be combined with grant money) are needed to help fulfill the other ideas.

The city is mailing out fundraising letters asking for donations soon and some events are in the works.

Carol Chapman points out every little bit helps, and every person can help in some way.

"We can show others what you can do with a few people leading the way," she said.

The hope is to have some of the lots ready for a dedication this Memorial Day weekend, right around the anniversary of the tornado.

Any monetary donations for the lot restoration project can be mailed to:

New Hartford City Hall

Lot Restoration

503 Packwaukee Street

New Hartford, IA 50660

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