Development needs to happen after flood buy-outs

Posted April 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Monticello Express Editorial

If you haven’t noticed, there is a lot of transformation taking place along the Kitty Creek area. Several homes along the Locust Street area, as well as the old Monticello Machine Shop building, that have been flooded more than once, have been demolished.

The land is taking on a new look.

So what’s to become of the flood zone? The city has talked about turning it into “green space.” I’ve heard ideas tossed around including a Frisbee golf area, a skate park, a trail head taking you to a trail system behind the high school all the way to Kirkwood, a permanent home for the Farmers Market group, lots of ideas.

These exciting plans all take funding of course. While the city is helping to pay for the demolition and clearing of the land near Kitty Creek, should they necessarily be the funding source to develop the green space? This is where beautification grants can come in handy as well.

For many years now, the Farmers Market has been operating out of the middle school parking lot after school hours. While they do have visibility within the community, there are parking issues immediately after school is out, with teachers and staff still working for the afternoon.

While the vendors are off the street, they have no shelter (other than retrieving to their vehicles). When it rains or snows (the Farmers Market runs May through October), many times they have to brave the weather. There’s no protection from the elements for the vendors and their products.

A shelter, much like you see at parks, along the Locust Street area would be perfect for the Farmers Market! That area now has plenty of open space for parking as well, which gets tight at times in the middle school parking lot.

This shelter could also be used for community. It’d be an additional gathering spot for picnics and public events.

Dreaming of what the Kitty Creek area could look like spawns many possibilities, but again, it takes money, volunteers, hard work and a need.

After the floods in Cedar Rapids in 2008, it took a long time for homes and buildings and structures to come down in the flooded areas of that city. I think the City of Monticello worked hard over these past few years to finally be able to bring the homes down in our flood zone.

Let’s hope that area doesn’t just sit idle; let’s get out there and help in any way you can to make that part of town attractive for future generations. (K.N.B.)