More than just a city project

Great post on the Mississippi Drive Corridor Project and Planning for People and Places by Kevin Jenison, Communications Manager for the City of Muscatine!

City of Muscatine

032118 BlogI recently ran across the accompanying picture posted by Project for Public Spaces on Twitter and I could not help but think just how valid the point is and just how much it resonates with the reconstruction of the Mississippi Drive corridor.

“If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.” – Fred Kent.

Kent is one of the founders of Project for Public Spaces and one of the leading authorities on revitalizing city spaces. His PPS biography also notes that he is one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth, and the future of the city.

And the future of Muscatine is what the Mississippi Drive Corridor Revitalization Project is all about.

When U.S. 61 was the main thoroughfare through Muscatine it was designed and built for cars and traffic. It was a…

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A vision of connectivity

City of Muscatine

The vision began with a thought to transform a riverfront filled with old buildings, grain bins, and a switchyard into a park that the citizens of Muscatine could be proud of and visitors would want to make a destination. Out of that, according to Steve Boka, former Community Development Director for the City of Muscatine, came the realization of a strong connection between the riverfront and Downtown Muscatine, and the need for a safer Mississippi Drive.

“The thought was that once we embarked on creating this park, that would create interest in redevelopment of our downtown,” Boka said. “At that time there was not much going on in the second stories of our downtown.”

The vision expanded with the realization that the park would attract people to the area and that would ignite investment into the downtown area. But to get from the park to downtown people needed a safe…

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Online or on the phone, we are here to listen

City of Muscatine

The City of Muscatine website has a wealth of information that will answer most questions posed by concerned citizens. There are times, however, when the answer to a question is not fully available. When this happens, citizens can contact the City of Muscatine for a better explanation.

All too frequently we see items posted on social media sites that some residents of the community are having difficulty in communicating their comments, concerns, or ideas to the City of Muscatine. We regret that some citizens find it difficult to ask questions or relay information to City of Muscatine staff, and we would like these individuals to know that we appreciate their desire to help us better serve Muscatine. We appreciate all the residents of Muscatine along with their questions, comments, and ideas on how to make Muscatine even better.

Here are the top ways to communicate your comments, concerns, or ideas…

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Green spaces IS the life for me

City of Muscatine

From 1965 through 1971, television viewers were treated to the antics of two city dwellers who moved to the country in the CBS-TV sitcom “Green Acres”. While the husband (Eddie Albert) longed for the rustic farm life, his sophisticated wife (Eva Gabor) longed to be back in the city and patiently waited for her husband to come to his senses.

I remember watching the show but never paid attention to a hidden message lodged deep within the comical scripts … the constant battle between the concrete jungle and green spaces.

green-acresThis “hidden” message was unique in retrospect as I realized that it was during this time period that the affordability of the automobile led to the ability to travel greater distances which ultimately aided in the creation of great gathering places called shopping malls.

In Paris, Illinois (population 8,500), we still had our small businesses (or mom and pop stores if you prefer) in…

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Walkability over driveability

City of Muscatine

04-25-17 Green Space - Riverfront Park Green spaces like this one at Riverfront Park allow individuals to enjoy social interaction and nature along the banks of the Mississippi River. The wide sidewalks, sitting areas, play areas, and landscaping add to the walkable nature of the park. These and similar concepts will be used as the City of Muscatine continues its efforts to transform the downtown business district and other areas of the community into more pedestrian friendly gathering places.

It should not be a surprise to anyone that the City of Muscatine has, as one of their goals, the development of placemaking projects that will maintain local amenities for residents while also attracting and retaining a quality workforce. The placemaking philosophy, an idea that changes the emphasis of urban design from automobile traffic to pedestrian traffic, guides the public and private sectors of Muscatine in the development of plans for the riverfront, the downtown area, and…

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Placemaking in the city

City of Muscatine

Mississippi DriveAnyone who travels across the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge that carries traffic over the Mississippi River from Illinois Highway 92 to Iowa Highway 92 is treated to a spectacular view of the Muscatine riverfront just downstream from the bridge. There are few river towns that can claim to have such a wondrous entrance to their city yet Muscatine knows the best is yet to come.

Over 20 years ago you would not have had the same reaction to seeing the Muscatine riverfront from that bridge as you do today. An aging industrial center with a railroad switching yard and a declining downtown did little to inspire visitors to stop and stay for a while. That has changed through the efforts of the City of Muscatine along with many individuals and organizations who donated time, ideas, and in some cases money, to the vision of transformation.

The vision of transforming what was once a decaying industrial area into a welcoming public…

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Update on the City’s Award-winning Budget

City of Muscatine

more-about-the-budget-1

Last week’s post about the upcoming budget sessions describes the process that the City Council and staff undergo to create a budget to meet the needs of our community. This undertaking is no small feat!

Finance Director Nancy Lueck has been with the Finance Department since 1977 and has served as the Director since fall of 2005. Nancy and her team have efficient procedures for handling the budget each year.

Not only does Iowa Code require cities of our size to complete an annual audit, but the City of Muscatine also submits the budget to be reviewed by The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) each year.

The City of Muscatine has been awarded a GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for 32 consecutive years. In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an…

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