Category Archives: Articles of Interest

2018 Best Development Award Winners and Ceremony

CONTACT: Julia McGuire, Best Development Award Coordinator, 515-988-1828, awards@1000friendsofiowa.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

1000 FRIENDS OF IOWA ANNOUNCES 2018 BEST DEVELOPMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS

Celebrating Iowa’s ‘development heroes’ and recognizing smart growth principles across the state

Dec. 11, 2018 (Des Moines, Iowa) – 1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces eight recipients of its Best Development Award for 2018. These recipients were chosen because they implement the efficient use of resources to develop sustainable communities and provide a high quality of life.

“These are our state’s ‘development heroes,’” according to Julia McGuire, Program Coordinator. The 2018 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, recipient, project, city):

  • In the Innovative Leadership category, the City of Storm Lake for building a sustainable community through food, youth service and education, flood control, and stormwater management in Storm Lake
  • In the Placemaking/Greenspace category, Primary Health Care’s East Side Clinic for its Healing Garden in Des Moines
  • In the Renewable Energy category, Stuff Etc. for its unique “solar plus storage” technology in Coralville
  • In the Renovated Civic – Small Community category, the Bricker-Price Block for the restoration of the Bricker-Price Block in Earlham
  • In the Renovated Civic – Large Community, the Davenport Community School District for its J.B. Young Opportunity Center in Davenport
  • In the Renovated Residential category, Professional Property Management for Sun Prairie Apartments in West Des Moines
  • In the Stormwater Management category, the City of Algona for its Downtown Green Parking Lot Infrastructure Renewal in Algona
  • In the Transportation/Complete Streets category, the City of Manning for its Trails Network in Manning

“The nominations for 2018 were very diverse. The jurors really appreciated the number of renovations that were nominated. There are so many great developments occurring in our state,” stated Kari Carney, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Iowa. “Iowa should celebrate the communities where thoughtful planning is happening. Hopefully other communities can replicate the successes of our 2018 category winners.”

The Best Development Awards winners are selected from a pool of nominations each year by an independent group of jurors. This year’s jurors were Pat Boddy, Senior Partner Emeritus at RDG Planning & Design; Jeff Geerts, Special Projects Manager with the Community Development Division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jeff Hanson, Community Development Operations Manager of the City of Sioux City; Ulrike Passe, Associate Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University and Director of the Center for Building Energy Research, and Ryan Peterson, President of Impact7G.

An Award Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 2019, at 12 noon at the Capitol Rotunda. It is free and open to the public.

The Best Development Awards Program recognizes projects in up to 12 different categories as a way for 1000 Friends of Iowa to express the fact that smart land use and sustainable communities are more than constructed buildings. All of the award recipients help advance sustainability across our state by considering site design, outdoor and indoor environmental impact, public use, and long-term benefits.

Founded in 1998, 1000 Friends of Iowa is the only organization in the state focused solely on promoting responsible land use in community, state, and federal development decisions. Its mission is to unite Iowans in efforts to protect farmland and natural areas, revitalize neighborhoods, towns and cities, and improve quality of life for future generations.

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For more information about the Best Development Awards Program, please contact Julia McGuire at 515-988-1828 or email awards@1000friendsofiowa.org.

Help Save Energy Efficiency.

Updated:

Right  now, making it’s way through the Iowa State House is a horrible bill  – Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093). The bill has passed out of committees in both houses and was passed out of the full senate.  The bill is now awaiting debate in the full house. This bill has sweeping changes that decimates energy efficiency programs, potentially losing over 80% of the current funds, it essentially deregulates utilities in Iowa, leaving all utility customers vulnerable to soaring prices and the whims of the utility companies, and it makes it easier for gas pipelines to be built in Iowa.

If enacted, Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093), which is being championed by Iowa’s investor owned utilities, would:
  • Effectively deregulate Iowa’s energy utilities;
  • Slash energy efficiency programs, potentially by up to 80% or more;
  • Make it easier for gas pipelines to build in Iowa.
  • And though the bad solar provisions were removed, there is still an effort to put them back into the bill which if added back in, could essentially kill rooftop and community solar by allowing utility companies to discriminate against solar customers.
So what does that mean for you? It means:
This bill is bad for Iowans. Energy efficiency is a key factor that keeps utility rates low in Iowa. If passed,  utility rates will go up. Low income people will lose out on energy efficiency and weatherization programs  programs and utility companies can build unnecessary fossils fuel generation plants and charge all of their customers to foot the bill.
We could see a potential loss of over 20,000 jobs in the energy efficiency sectors and and a loss of over $200,000,000 that would have been savings for utility customers.
If you are asking what we can do about it, keep reading!

Talking points for the overall bill:  Click here.

Energy Efficiency Fact Sheet: Click here.

Another bad bill that is now making it’s way through the senate is SSB 3078. This bill proposes to eliminate all energy efficiency programs. It is on the Ways and Means subcommittee schedule for Monday, March 19 at 3:00 p.m. The subcommittee is made up of Senator Fenestra, Senator Hogg, and Senator R.Schmidt. Please contact all three of them and ask them to oppose SSB 3078.  Click here to find their contact info.

Become a Sponsor for the 2018 BDA!

1000 Friends of Iowa’s Best Development Awards – Become a sponsor!

Iowa communities are facing turning points; how they move forward impacts Iowa for generations to come.

Showcasing Iowa’s very best works raises the bar, encouraging and inspiring tomorrow’s efforts to higher levels of sustainability.

With 15 years of project winners and more to come, the Best Development Awards create a platform of sustainable growth models that are innovative, economically viable, and serve their communities well.

The Best Development Awards recognizes projects in 12 categories:

  •   Residential – New, Renovated
  •   Commercial – New, Renovated
  •   Civic – New, Renovated
  •   Mixed Use Space
  •   Innovative Leadership
  •   Storm Water Management
  •   Transportation/Complete Streets
  •   Renewable Energy
  •   Urban Placemaking/Green Space

Timeline: Award nominations open September 1, 2018. Nominees are judged by independent jurors in December and the awards ceremony is January 22,  2019.

Your generous, tax-deductible sponsorship gift will enable us to amplify awareness of innovative development works and further inspire residents, cities, businesses, and organizations to do well by Iowa’s resources. 
Won’t you become a sponsor today?

To download the full sponsorship packet, click here.

To make a sponsorship gift, click here.

Sponsorship Benefits:

To see and read more about winners, check out The Iowan Magazine feature on 2015 winners: http://bit.ly/29SV8Xh and go to http://1000friendsofiowa.org/our- programs/best-development-awards/

New Farm-a-Save signs go up

For over 18 years, 1000 Friends of Iowa has been working to address land use issues in Iowa. One of the first tactics our early founders used to draw attention to land use issues across the state was by putting up Farm-a-Save signs along well traveled roads.

18 years later, the familiar signs are still letting motorists know that there is a better way! Recently, the signs that are on the south side of Interstate 80 near Earlham got an upgrade with new signs.

Co-founder LaVon Griffieon has recently re-painted and created fresh signs that are ready to go to their new homes!

If you are interested in hosting a set of Farm-a-Save signs, here is  what you need to know:

  1. Pick a strip of land along a well-traveled roadway, or empty store front windows.
  1. In order to ensure passerby’s can read the signs, the signs should be spaced 90 feet apart with a total length of 360 feet.
  1. Choose the set of signs you want, based on what is relevant for your area
    •  To the earth/make amends/park your car/bike with friends
    • These old buildings/Still got magic/their destruction/would be tragic
    • Urban sprawl/ain’t too pretty/save our farms/build in the city
    • Urban growth/on rural ground/how ‘bout raising/hogs downtown
    • Wal-marts and roads/Sprout up like weeds/and our tax dollars/are the seeds
    • Keep our mainstreets/strong and healthy/when we buy local/our towns stay wealthy
    • These lovely hills/unique beyond measure/time is a ticking/to save such a treasure
  1. You can pick up the signs or we can deliver to you.
  1. Once installed, keep the area mowed or free of weeds, shrubs, etc that will block the view of the signs.
  1. Take pictures and send them to us! We’ll let others know where they can see the signs at!

For more information or to get your get of signs contact us at kfoi@1000friendsofiowa.org or call 515-288-5364.

 

Best Development Awards – Become a Sponsor!

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Celebrating 16 Years of Recognizing Smart Growth & Sustainable Development Across Iowa

The Best Development Awards program recognizes cities, companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals who demonstrate how responsible development and planning practices provide benefits to the community, the environment, and quality of life for future generations. Nominated projects help advance sustainability across our state by considering site placement, design, water efficiency, energy management, materials and resources used, indoor environmental quality, public use, and long-term benefits.

Our Best Development Awards Program is made possible because of the generous donations of our sponsors. Please consider becoming a sponsor this year.  For more information on sponsorships, click here.

Click here to make a sponsorship gift.

Nominations for the 2017 Awards will open on September 1, 2017.
Download the Best Development Awards informational brochure here.
HOW TO APPLY:

STEP 1: Download the category application (see links below)

STEP 2: Review the awards program and category criteria

STEP 3: Submit your nomination by the Nov. 15th deadline

Entry Fee: $50 

Pay entry fee online by clicking here or make checks payable to: 1000 Friends of Iowa 3850 Merle Hay Road, Suite 605 Des Moines, IA 50310 (Please note Best Development Awards entry fee)

2017 Categories (Click the specific category for its application) 

Questions? Contact: Awards@1000friendsofiowa.org

Now more than ever we must raise awareness of people doing great things in our communities. We are facing a critical time when our water, land, air, and climate are so threatened by the impacts of poor land use decisions — it is imperative that we work to promote efforts that are doing it right. Because we know that smart land use and sustainable communities are more that just buildings, we’ve added three new categories this year:

  • Renewable Energy, including solar and wind for commercial and residential properties
  • Transportation/Complete Streets, including walkability and bicycle-friendly measures that cut the dependency on fossil fuels and decrease sprawl
  • Placemaking/Green Space, which turn blight and poor planning into a living vision
Want to sponsor the 2017 Best Development Awards?
Get information here, including sponsorship benefits.

1000 Friends of Iowa established the Best Development Awards in 2001 to showcase development projects and programs in Iowa that best reflect the principles of smart growth, sustainability, and uphold the mission of 1000 Friends of Iowa. We also recognize the efforts of businesses, developers, cities, organizations, and individuals responsible for these projects. The Best Development Awards are selected from a pool of applicants each year and judged by an independent group of jurors. Become a sponsor today!

Stay up to date on awards announcements and happenings on Facebook and Twitter![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Take Action to Proct Topsoil

Protecting topsoil is one of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s highest priorities. In 2015, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Commission gutted the requirement to maintain at least 4 inches of topsoil on residential construction sites. Because topsoil is so crucial for flood mitigation, carbon sequestering, filtering out pollutants to keep our water clean and for growing the pants and food we depend on;  we are turning to local communities to take action to protect our topsoil.

To help communities and Iowa residents take action to adopt topsoil restoration and protection ordinances, 1000 Friends of Iowa has created a handy toolkit with how to’s, talking points and sample ordinances that we like. Get our toolkit here.

Take action! — Communities within the Greater Des Moines Metro Area have been talking about adopting a region-wide topsoil ordinance for a couple of years, but have been dragging their heels. The time to act is now!

Please do two things:

  1. Write a letter to the editor to the Des Moines Register calling on metro cities to adopt the topsoil ordinance. Submit your letters here.
  2. Contact your council members and mayor. Go to you cities home page and click on city council for contact information.

2017-2018 Topsoil ordinances

Congratulations to both the cities of Clive and Cedar Rapids for being the most recent communities to adopt topsoil restoration ordinances!

In 2017, we will reach out to additional communities around the state to adopt similar ordinances. Our soil is too precious not to.

Click here to download the toolkit

Click here to to see the Topsoil Restoration Guide from King County, WA

Click here to view the preliminary ordinance for the city of Clive

Let us know if you take this ordinance to your community by emailing us at kfoi@1000friendsofiowa.org 

Why it matters:

* Topsoil retention is very important to urban landscapes — growing plants need healthy soil. New homeowners with no topsoil left in place are often faced with very expensive soil remediation to even begin to establish healthy lawns, trees, and gardens. The savings to the building and construction industry (numbers that keep changing and are unsubstantiated) comes at a great cost to the homeowner and to the watershed.

* Rain events quickly wash fertilizers, also called nutrients, off lots that have been stripped of topsoil. This pollutes our rivers, lakes, and streams. Furthermore, it is costly for the landowner who must spend extra money for repeat fertilizer applications. Keeping soil in place contributes to natural storm water management solutions and helps build healthy, green, and more sustainable neighborhoods for future generations.

Stay updated on our topsoil protection actions at www.1000friendsofiowa.org.

Food Hubs Emerging as Economic Force in Iowa

The first coordinated study of food hub development in Iowa shows that food hubs play a significant role in the state’s local and regional food economy. According to the study, thirteen food hubs purchased $4.5 million in food from more than 450 Iowa farmers and supported 58 jobs. Further, it posits that if the sample businesses were representative of all 31 food hubs and centers of food hub-related activity in the state, Iowa food hubs could be handling more than $10 million of locally grown food in the state!  Read the full report.

Another solution to nitrate pollution: cover crops

NPR The Salt, February 2, 2015

Here’s How to End Iowa’s Great Nitrate Fight by Dan Charles

Three weeks ago, Sara Carlson was driving to her job in Ames, Iowa, when she turned on the radio and heard me talking about nitrates in Iowa’s water.

“And I was like, ‘I really hope he nails this,’ ” she says.

This topic is Carlson’s specialty. She works with a group called Practical Farmers of Iowa. These farmers are devoted to farming in ways that protect the environment.

Read the entire article.