Iowa City officials want to raise Dubuque Street but plan worrie - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City officials want to raise Dubuque Street but plan worries some residents


A trip to Tony Colby's Iowa City home is like a trip to the secret garden.

"It's beautiful up here.," said Colby. "When I came here, I said I'm never, never going to move again. I mean this was, this was my paradise.

Looking through the trees, you'd never guess one of Iowa City's busiest streets is on the other side. Now a proposal by city employees to raise Dubuque St. has Colby worried about his personal paradise. The city says to complete the project, they would have to tear down trees. That's what worries Colby. He's put up yellow ribbons on trees he thinks will be taken down.

The city says keeping the street beautiful is important to them.

"The aesthetic nature of the corridor is one of our biggest concerns," said Melissa Clow, Special Projects Administrator. "It's right up there with flood mitigation."

Flood mitigation is why the city wants to raise the street, as well as the Park Rd. bridge. When Iowa City floods, the area is one of the first impacted. During the high river levels in June, Dubuque St. had to close for 17 days.

"It causes traffic jams and delays," said Clow. "There are issues with emergency access to neighborhoods."

The city hopes to raise Dubuque St. one foot above the 500 year flood plain. That's around ten feet, more in some areas. That height would also raise the street above the 2008 flood level, when the street closed for a month.

Colby fears what the changes could mean for the value of his home.

"We are all, everyone living up here, very fearful," said Colby.

The plan isn't a done deal yet. City staff will present it to the city council in September. If approved, construction would begin in 2015 and wrap up before fall 2016.

City staff say the plan would cost around 40 million dollars. Some of the money is coming from grants and the rest would come from Local Option Sales Tax revenue.

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