PEOSTA, Iowa — Groups of residents and city officials were separated into virtual rooms to brainstorm ideas for the Peosta they hope to create in the coming months, years and even decades.
Throughout the discussions, many residents spoke about their desires to see a better trail system allowing people to walk from one park to another on a safe path. Others imagine a splash pad placed at a future gathering space in the city. Each vision led back to the No. 1 goal of connectivity, which all residents said they hope to one day see in Peosta.
“I really like the idea of what they are saying of linking the neighborhoods together,” said Peosta resident Andrea Kluesner. “I really like the idea of more trails (for) walking and seeing people out.”
A mix of about 20 Peosta residents and city officials met virtually Thursday night to discuss Peosta’s comprehensive parks and trails plan designed to provide a better way of mapping out locations for future amenities. The webinar was put together by RDG Planning & Design of Dubuque, selected in May to complete the city’s project.
Mayor Jim Merten said his group discussed the city’s needs for child care, starter homes for young families as well as elderly care and connectivity with the city’s trail system.
“This comprehensive plan and master parks and trails plan is, in my opinion, one of the biggest things we are going to do in the coming years as far as mapping out what the future of Peosta looks like,” Merten said.
Marty Shukert, a principal planner and urban designer with RDG, said the night was designed to get Peosta residents talking about what they want to see come out of the comprehensive plan to ensure it is tailored to the needs of the families and businesses in the area.
“Number one goal is community vision and establishing an overall idea of where Peosta will be going and what it will feel and look like in 20 years,” he said. “We know that transportation and connectivity will be a key part of it.”
Peosta resident Nancy Zachar Fett, who serves on the Western Dubuque Community School Board, said she envisions Peosta having a park similar to Farley’s community park, where people can gather for outdoor events and outings.
“I think that is something we talked about years ago, and I thought there were a lot of people that said they were interested, and somehow we got a disc golf course,” she said. “I would like to see something where there is a centralized (park).”
Charlie Cowell, a RDG project manager, said it is difficult to gauge if people will attend a virtual meeting but was pleased with residents’ participation and engagement.
“The purpose was just to introduce the project and start getting ideas flowing,” Cowell said. “I think there was great discussion, and I think everyone had a lot of great ideas.”
RDG will release a 15-minute survey in about a week asking Peosta residents about city transportation, housing needs, plans for a future parks and more. Small groups of Peosta residents, Realtors, business leaders and others also plan to meet in the next month to further discuss ideas for the city’s future.
“After we complete these sessions and the survey, then comes the actual planning of the different systems of the parks, streets, city center (and) all of the elements that make up the plan,” Shukert said.