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Community Team


Jake Spitz, RITLAND+KUIPER Landscape Architects

Landscape Architects

Samantha Price, RITLAND+KUIPER Landscape Architects

Craig Ritland, RITLAND+KUIPER Landscape Architects

Steering Committee

Bonnie Eustice

Barb Groth

Daria Jorgensen

Myrna Jorgensen

Tara Kramer

Brad Mayer

Bryan Mayer

Karen Robertson

Holbrook Schutjer

Devin Schwiesow

Trees Forever Facilitator

Meredith Borchardt

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Community Report

St. Ansgar (population 1,146,) is located in Mitchell County on Iowa Highway 105, US Highway 218, and County Roads T38 and A25 near the Cedar River. The town’s charming character comes from the restored architecture of many historic homes and downtown buildings. Clausen City Park and Angel Park are two important parks in the community, and a number of possible ideas for enhancements were brought out in the visioning process. A major transportation issue in St. Ansgar is the lack of safe pedestrian routes to the school and its aquatic center, the children’s garden, and the trailhead for a popular walking trail. Neighborhood stormwater is a serious concern in St. Ansgar.

Planning and Design Summary

Based on the needs and desires of the local residents, as well as a detailed inventory of community resources, the steering committee set priorities and design team developed a concept plan with the following components:

  • Signage – Replace the plywood sign with an engraved limestone face, retaining the existing limestone columns, and incorporate way-finding and destination signage throughout town.
  • Pedestrian Connections – Designate a safe route to school and upgrade sidewalks and add crosswalks as needed along the route.
  • S.T.A.R.T. Trail Master Plan – Add lighting and trees along the trail and combine the visioning, school district, and S.T.A.R.T. committee plans into one master plan.
  • Clausen City Park – Install accessible paths to park facilities, replace the earth berm and mulch under the playground equipment with a limestone wall and pea gravel, and add new play equipment and a sandbox.
  • Angel Park – Install an accessible walking path to park facilities, plant trees along Winter Street, and add interpretive signage for the prairie buffer.
  • Stormwater Management – Install stormwater control measures such as rain gardens or buffer strips and encourage individuals to install such measures.

Assessment Highlights

Transportation Barriers

Lack of crosswalks within the community, especially along Highway 105 and 4th Street, coupled with discontinuous sidewalks and railroad crossings in poor condition, create hazardous conditions for children. Old Mill Road is a popular walking and biking route for resident. However, the road is narrow and lacks shoulders. A suggestion was made at both the transportation meeting and the assets and barriers public input session to install “share the road” signage along this route.

Desired Improvements

The seniors and mobility-impaired users discussed the importance of having a railroad in town, but wish to have better approaches to the tracks as well as have the tracks repaired. The steering committee brought up having safer railroad crossings and suggested crossing guards. Focus-group participants would like new play equipment and more vegetation and Clausen Park and more trail connections.