Dubuque officials hosted a celebration last week marking the milestone that was the completion of the Bee Branch Creek Railroad Culverts Project. The six new stormwater pipes are now functional and providing protection up to a 500-year rain event.

Located under the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks between Garfield Avenue and the Lower Bee Branch Creek, the culverts project involved micro-tunneling six 8-foot diameter pipes under the tracks and the construction of upstream and downstream underground transition structures, a pumping station and a water level control system.

With the work complete, the new pipes are now active and conveying water. The improvements have significantly increased the flood mitigation system’s capacity for stormwater.

It’s gratifying to see this long-term project in place — most assuredly so to North End residents who have dealt with nearly annual flooding in so many years past.

The event included a recognition of Al and Suzanne Blum, who donated $400,000 to the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project. The city purchased Blum Properties Inc. at 411 E. 15th St. for $500,000 in 2014 with plans to redevelop the land. Of that, $400,000 was held in an account to cover environmental cleanup, with the remaining money to be paid to Blum in 2019. When the city secured $400,000 in federal funds for the cleanup and tried to return the money to Blum, he immediately agreed to donate the money back to the city to be used to redevelop the property.

A salute to the Blums for their generosity and for all the city staff and elected officials who worked hard to bring the Bee Branch project to completion.

Dubuque residents might not always like how city government spends their money, but none can claim a lack of opportunities to provide input.

As work on the city’s fiscal 2023 budget begins, officials are inviting citizens and other stakeholders to express their opinions.

A public input meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, in the City Council chambers at the Historic Federal Building, 350 W. Sixth St. City Manager Mike Van Milligen and Finance and Budget Department staff will provide general information on the budget process at this meeting, and then attendees will be asked to share their thoughts on what they would like to see funded in their neighborhoods and the community at large.

Those unable to attend in person can connect online at: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/235685597 for a virtual meeting facilitated by city staff.

Residents and stakeholders also are encouraged to explore two online tools, available at www.cityofdubuque.org/budget, that provide an opportunity to visually interact with the city’s budget. For additional information on the city’s budget process, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/budget or call 563-589-4398.

By and large, we think the city is allocating dollars in the right places. However, where there are new ideas or differences of opinion, this is a great opportunity for citizens to contribute their two cents.

Few cities have had as great a need for — or done as much with — federal lead-paint abatement assistance as Dubuque.

For more than 25 years, officials made steady progress on lead abatement in the thousands of older homes in the city. But the community still has a long way to go.

That’s why it was welcome news when the city received a new $4.2 million federal grant to fund the city’s lead removal program for the next 3.5 years.

The program remediates residences that have lead hazards, including lead-paint-coated windowsills, walls and ceilings. With the new grant, a total of about $26 million in federal funding will have been administered to the Dubuque program since its inception in 1997. By October 2022, the city will have remediated 1,400 households.

That’s an impressive total. But there are still 19,000 more homes in Dubuque that were constructed before lead paints were banned in 1978. Additionally, some remediation work done in the 1990s must be done again where paint has chipped away.

While much work has been done, this grant will go a long way toward the continued effort to keep local kids safe from lead poisoning.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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