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Community Team


Hannah Schmitz, Bolton & Menk

Landscape Architect

Dylan Jones, Bolton & Menk

Steering Committee

Jenelle Bender

Sean Cortum

Ben Curtis

Gloria Hochstedler

Jan Peterseim

Ed Raber

Mark Robe

Phil Ropp

Ryan Schlabaugh

Joe Schmidt

Anthony Spitzer

Craig Spitzer

Mary Zielinski

Trees Forever Facilitator

Dustin Hinrichs

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Community Report

Kalona (population 2,450) is located at the intersection of Highways 1 and 22, 20 miles southwest of Iowa City. The city of Kalona benefits from several local attractions, such as the Historical Village, the Quilt and Textile Museum, countryside businesses, and a newly renovated downtown with specialty shops and boutiques. The community has flooding issues caused by its proximity to the English River and by local waterways through town.

The Kalona area has been home to several orders of Amish and Mennonites since the mid-1800s. These groups live primarily outside Kalona, but are an integral part of the community and regular users of the transportation system. In fact, 10% of respondents to the mailed transportation survey indicated horse and buggy as their primary mode of transportation. To gather additional input from this unique user group, the ISU research team worked with the Kalona Historical Society and the Chamber of Commerce to organize a focus group with five Amish elders. Because of Amish religious beliefs, the sessions were not recorded and the photo mapping activity was omitted.

Planning and Design Summary

The design team developed a concept plan that focuses on trails, stormwater management, B Avenue, and park development. The concept plan proposes a perimeter trail and pedestrian connections, including connecting the elementary and middle schools to City Park and connecting downtown to residential areas. The plan also addresses the safety of the pedestrian crossing at Highway 22 and 10th Street.

To address stormwater management, the plan calls for enhancing the existing detention basin east of the middle school, constructing new basins at the intersection of Highways 1 and 22, and planting rain gardens in front of the elementary school on 6th Street. B Avenue enhancements include bump-outs, street trees, and colored pavement to make the corridor more pedestrian friendly. Finally, the design team proposed a new KCTC Park, a veterans memorial, and Salvesen Park.

Assessment Highlights

Transportation Barriers

Kalona residents identified pedestrian access and lighting throughout town as the most significant barriers. All groups except the Amish mentioned the need for trails to connect the parks and parts of town that are disjointed from the rest of Kalona. Better connections to the school, downtown, and Harvest Hill were the main priorities of residents.

Amish Focus Groups

The Amish do not live in Kalona but come to town regularly to conduct business. As a result, their destinations are focused on utility and necessity rather than pleasure. These places are hardware shops, blacksmiths, the horse tack store, L&M or JW’s grocery stores, and the farm supply and feed stores. They often come to Kalona for auctions at the Kalona Sales barn. Unlike other user types, trails are not important to the Amish, who traditionally live simply with few amenities.