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Community Team


Erika Birnbaum, Flenker Land Architecture Consultants

Amanda Holtman, Flenker Land Architecture Consultants

Landscape Architect

Meg Flenker, Flenker Land Architecture Consultants

Steering Committee

Angela Dague

Amanda Erickson

Caroline Erickson

Ann Jorgensen

Christy Leckband

Allan Lindsay

Steve Meyer

Teresa Meyer

Randy Scheel

Michelle Trimble

Merle Welte

Steve Young

Trees Forever Facilitator

Patty Reisinger

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Community Report

Garrison (population 360) is located in Benton County between Interstate 380 and US Highway 30, approximately 40 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids. Residents use local recreational areas year-round, including the Old Creamery Trail that connects Garrison to the nearby towns of Dysart and Vinton. Garrison suffered a loss in July 2011 when straight-line winds damaged the city’s fire station and library, as well as many private residences and trees throughout town. In a move to overcome the disaster, residents quickly joined together and successfully raised funds to build a new library and fire station.

Planning and Design Summary

During the focus groups, participants expressed concern about the heavy traffic speeding through town along Sycamore Avenue. The focus groups also revealed the importance of amenities in town such as the library, the Old Creamery Trail, and City Park. Resident input played an important role in the goal-setting process, through which the Garrison visioning committee identified the following projects:

  • Sycamore Avenue Corridor Enhancements
  • City Park Improvements
  • Looped Trail around Garrison
  • Downtown Beautification
  • Pocket Park/Hero Memorial
  • Community Way-finding Signage and Community Identity
  • Sidewalk/Accessibility Enhancements

The Sycamore Avenue plan promotes safe access for all types of transportation users. The plan features decorative vehicular and pedestrian lighting, crosswalks, vegetation, and curb ramps. The design for downtown includes the same elements, as well as a plaza in front of the Mercantile, public art, bump-outs at intersections, and a plan for a “Central Park” on property next to the old fire station. The concept plan also includes a design for a trail loop, a heroes memorial, a trailhead, and signage.

Assessment Highlights

Transportation Barriers

Residents are concerned with the poor street lighting, sidewalk connections, and drainage throughout town. The streets are less shaded and protected from the elements because of the loss of trees resulting from the 2011 windstorm. There is limited space to pile snow in Garrison, which makes getting around town in the winter months difficult.

Transportation Assets

Residents highlighted the Old Creamery Trail as a vital recreational asset for biking, walking, and access to fishing, as well as snowmobiling in winter. Well-maintained facilities including the lights in City Park, the Mercantile, and the Old Creamery Trail are a source of pride.

Desired Improvements

Focus-group participants would like a trailhead where the Old Creamery Trail crosses Sycamore Avenue with a park and a parking lot for trail users. Some storm-damaged trees still need to be removed and new ones need to be planted. Planting trees would bring back wildlife that has been absent since the storm.