Wednesday, February 13, 2008

There Goes the Neighborhood?

New condo project in works in Iowa City

University Heights residents worried about traffic

This was the blaring headline in today's Press Citizen.

In a nutshell: University Heights is surrounded by Iowa City. At one border with IC there is a nine acre tract of empty land. This land is heavily utilized in the fall as a spot for "tailgating" at University of Iowa football games. Several years ago developers tried to buy the land and market "sports condos" but the venture fell through. More recently someone tried to buy the land and then rent large chunks of it to corporations for tailgating with 10 year leases until the city of Iowa City stepped in and said that the area wasn't zoned for it.

Why does U-Heights (my fair city) care about this? Because there are three streets that dead end into the property which would be it's only access points. All three are located in University Heights. My guess is that residents are concerned that traffic will greatly increase, city of UH will have to upgrade roads, but all tax benefit of the development will go to Iowa City. The land has a fairly rugged topography, water drainage will be an issue, thereby not allowing any access from Iowa City.

As a relative newcomer to town all I have to fall back on is history. In reading Memoirs of Iowa's Only Socialist Mayor David Belgum writes of a plan to develop the area in the 1960's. At that point University Heights City Council was ready to vacate all three streets thereby leaving no access to the property! In the end the developer gave up then too.

Lots of comments to the story on the P-C's website, let the fun begin.


hovercraft said...

Hey, the new condos might look like little Foxcrofts, they say they'll build them to look like 1930s Craftsman bungaloes.

Y'all can have a blog circle or something...

Chris said...

Just wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for a "You've Made My Day Award." Your blog is amazing! Thanks for making my day!

M'elle said...

Hi - I just discovered your blog! It's been great for motivation on our old house.
I wasnted to ask you, I was reading a post from 10/12/07 and you put neatsfoot oil on an outdoor fixture. I put that on my saddle and wanted to know why you put it on your fixture - may be of some help to us in the future. Thanks for blogging and inspiring!

Bungle Lin said...

I love your blog, especially this entry and the one on the Wetherly HOuse. I will be in IC on Friday helping my daughter look for a house--preferably a bungalow near the university. She's been looking for 5 months; the buyer's market has not hit your town! Let me know if you have any ideas.

Mike said...

Hey Lin,

The house right behind us is for rent right now, it's a nice 2+ bedroom cottage. I might have some other ideas, send an email to mayhem (at)