FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT: Siobhan Spain, 515-707-2783, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 8, 2014 (Des Moines, Iowa) – 1000 Friends of Iowa is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Best Development Awards. The awards program showcases projects that recognize connections between building development and quality of life. With a mission focused on responsible land use, 1000 Friends of Iowa promotes smart growth planning principles that help achieve communities that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.
Please join 1000 Friends of Iowa in acknowledging the hard work of the 2014 Best Development Award winners, and promoting the good happening in our communities that make Iowa great:
1. New Residential: Madison Flats, Des Moines
Neighborhood Development Corporation cleaned up a contaminated site to build an apartment building and spark further developments in a blighted neighborhood with potential. Located across the river from Principal Park, Madison Flats is positioned to make a “catalytic impact in the Two Rivers District, encouraging other good projects in the area,” as one Best Development Award juror stated.
2. Renovated Residential (Co-Winners):
a. 1924 Leyner Street, Des Moines
The ambitious project by Indigo Dawn relocated a dilapidated Victorian-era bungalow and transformed it into a 1500 square foot home with a full basement, porch and updated amenities. It features include an insulated basement floor and walls; diverse stormwater management practices; and use of salvage and recycled materials.
b. 4818 Urbandale Avenue, Des Moines
Not deterred by gaping holes in the roof, a crumbling garage, and a bathtub ready to fall through the floor, David Barzen of Sterling Investments recognized that the 1920 Beaverdale Craftsman had “good bones.” The project is an example of how one person’s passion can make a difference that inspires a community. The neighborhood nuisance property is now home to a grateful family.
3. New Commercial/Civic: Viking Center, Stanton
A strong group of Stanton, Iowa, residents persevered over seven years to plan, build and dedicate the City’s Viking Center, a public building featuring a preschool, library, wellness center, walking track, gymnasium, multi-purpose community room and 625-person tornado shelter. In a community with a population of 700, over 400 people formed a “human chain” six blocks long, passing books hand to hand from the old library to the new center.
4. Renovated Commercial/Civic: Green Pilot Streetscape Project, West Union
A RAGBRAI event motivated community members to turn a standard streetscape infrastructure project into a downtown sustainable revitalization endeavor that included the renovation of 10 building facades; a district geothermal heating and cooling system; and a comprehensive stormwater management project. The Best Development Award jurors join the many voices concurring that this is simply an amazing story.
5. Mixed Use: 421 Main Street, Slater
In 2006, a dilapidated vacant building in Slater, Iowa, collapsed leaving a large clean-up bill, public safety and health concerns, and an economic development void. Learning from this trying event, City of Slater turned another nuisance property into an impactful opportunity. The renovated mixed use building acts as a beacon for other communities faced with similar challenges.
6. Leadership: Woodbine Main Street District, Woodbine
The work began in 2007 when the western Iowa town of 1,500 residents acknowledged their downtown, comprised of three square blocks with 10 vacant and decaying buildings, must be addressed. Prioritizing collaboration, pursuing diverse funding sources and accomplishing project after project has enabled Woodbine to reap the economic and community-building benefits of revitalizing existing assets.
7. Stormwater Management: Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project’s Green Alley Program, Dubuque
The urban municipality’s ambitious 12-phase 20 -year community flood mitigation project retrofits alley infrastructure within the city’s Bee Branch Watershed with pervious pavement. By allowing stormwater to soak into the ground, Dubuque is able to reduce stormwater runoff by up to 80%, replenish the groundwater, and lessen the amount of pollutants entering the storm sewer system and ultimately the Mississippi River.
The Best Development Awards are selected from a pool of applications each year and judged by an independent group of jurors. This year’s jurors included Ryan Peterson of Impact7G, Iowa State University graduate student Kristen Greteman, and City of Ankeny Community Development Director John Peterson. Plaques commemorating each 2014 Best Development Awards recipient will be presented to the winners individually.
1000 Friends of Iowa, founded in 1998, is a statewide nonprofit organization focused on land use education. 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.
Additional details about each winning project and 1000 Friends of Iowa’s smart growth priorities can be found at www.1000FriendsofIowa.org.