CORALVILLE — A portion of First Avenue in Coralville will soon have a greener view of the Iowa River.
The city of Coralville will take possession Thursday of the old Hawkeye Ready-Mix plant at 309 First Ave., just south of Iowa River Power Restaurant.
The city’s 2012 Iowa Riverfront Master Plan shows the property, directly across the river from Iowa City’s Thornberry Off-leash Dog Park and Peninsula Disc Golf Course, as green space with a number of potential park uses.
Coralville purchased the property in 2012 on a six-year payment contract, said Ellen Habel, assistant city administrator. The city paid $4.2 million for the 1.36 acres and will take over on the first of the month after granting Hawkeye Ready-Mix an extension on the July move out date.
“The property was purchased for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the city’s construction of flood protection along the Iowa River required a significant portion of this property,” Habel said, adding that flood protection plans also call for berms on the river and nearby Clear Creek to the south, and the raising of the railroad track on the property.
While the property will remain green space for now, future features could include construction of a pedestrian bridge across Clear Creek, canoe or kayak access, a playground and public parking and restrooms.
Habel said the property purchase had some other benefits, including creating a more attractive look along the river with more green space and perhaps alleviating some traffic dangers.
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“Relocation of the business removes the hazard of many large trucks entering and exiting the busy First Avenue corridor,” Habel said
Just up the street, Coralville representatives have undertaken a decadeslong effort in the Iowa River Landing to beautify First Avenue, a main corridor through the town and access point from Interstate 80. Today, the a $190 million reinvestment development includes numerous hotels and restaurants and multifamily housing developments, and construction is underway on a structure that includes a 5,100-seat arena, the Iowa Fitness and Sports Performance Institute, a field house, and hotel and museum space.
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