Concentrating on the corridor

Highway 14 Corridor Study open house offers ideas, displays for residents and business owners

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS An open house on the Highway 14 Corridor Study was held at the Woodbury Elementary cafeteria Tuesday evening. Those interested were invited to view displays and ideas for the study, and visitors were able to point out on a map where they think improvements need to be made.

Dozens of people trickled into the Woodbury Elementary School cafeteria Tuesday evening to get more information on the Highway 14 Corridor Study taking place on the north side of town.

“This is really an information-gathering session, to inform the community about the project, but also to start to generate some ideas,” said Bolton and Menk Inc. Landscape Architect Casey Byers. “The project’s extent is from Anson Street north to the city limits.”

The Des Moines consulting firm is performing the study of the North 3rd Avenue area for the City of Marshalltown at a cost of $75,730. That cost was split among the city, the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation and the Region 6 Planning Commission.

Residents, business owners and anyone else interested in the study was able to look at several displays board outlining the cafeteria. The boards included computer-generated depictions of possible changes and beautification measures in the North 3rd Avenue area.

Visitors were asked to put colorful stickers on pictures of ideas they liked. Toward the back of the room, a large map of the entire study area could be marked with notes from visitors about areas in need of improvement.

“I am so pleased to see so many people here, because they’re interested and they know this is something that we really need,” said Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer. “I’ve been really pleased with the work that Bolton and Menk has done on several things.”

Among the area business owners at the event Tuesday was North 3rd Avenue Dairy Queen owner Tyler Wollam.

“I think there are a lot of great ideas being generated here,” he said.

Wollam added he supports safety, housing improvement and beautification projects in the corridor.

“Watching traffic on North 3rd Avenue for over 20 years, there are some issues … the trucks that go to JBS (Swift and Co.), there are some issues that occur with them,” he said. “It could be safer.”

Additionally, Wollam said Riverview Park is a major asset in the area and a place that could attract new residents if housing improvements are made.

“From where I’m at, I just think it’s time that we start reinvesting in this area so that the rest of the area around it and behind it and beside it can follow suit,” he said.

Fellow area business owner Dave Adland, owner of Adland Engraving and Screenprint Company, also said truck traffic is a concern.

“The city, in the past, has talked about extending Riverside (Street) to service the JBS area,” he said. “What we feel should be done is to do a cut-out, up here on Marion (Street) and (North) 3rd Avenue, that would allow greater access for the trucks going north to get onto 3rd Avenue without taking up three of the four lanes.”

Greer said the corner of Marion Street and North 3rd Avenue is “the most dangerous intersection in Marshalltown” due, in part, to the difficulty semi-trucks have with turning north onto the highway. He said a change should be made in the area to improve traffic safety.

Adland said he’s in favor of things like beautification and bike paths in the area.

“I think the study is good, this is proactive,” he said.

Frieda Gerke, a resident of North 3rd Avenue since 1951, said there is heavy traffic in her area.

“The traffic doesn’t bother me,” she said. “The city comes first, we need to improve it.”

Gerke added she would like to see housing improvements around Riverview Park.

More public meetings and open houses are planned for the study. Byers said the next open house will be coming in March

“We want to try to reach out to as many people as possible and start learning more about what are the issues that need to be solved,” he said, adding results from an online survey will be in for the next meeting.. “We’re going to take the information from tonight and the survey and start developing some concepts that maybe help to improve some of the issues that are there within the corridor.”

Spohnheimer said the study committee intends to hold meetings specific to the four sections of the corridor identified in the study. She also encouraged those interested to take the online survey to help the study.

For more information and to take the survey, visit https://www.marshalltown-ia.gov/566/Hwy-14-Corridor-Study

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com