Government

Jones County supervisors reduce speed limit near Hula-Hoop tree

Tree will remain standing, for now

Hula-Hoops hang from a tree along E23 County Home Road west of the community of Amber in Jones County. It’s a mystery who started the tradition, or why. Several of the hoops have memorial messages to departed loved ones. One has a happy birthday announcement. The attraction is featured on the website Atlas Obscura. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Hula-Hoops hang from a tree along E23 County Home Road west of the community of Amber in Jones County. It’s a mystery who started the tradition, or why. Several of the hoops have memorial messages to departed loved ones. One has a happy birthday announcement. The attraction is featured on the website Atlas Obscura. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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AMBER — The Hula-Hoop tree will remain standing for now, after Jones County supervisors voted to reduce the speed limit to make the area near the tree safer for pedestrians.

Safety concerns about the leafless tree — decorated with hundreds of plastic Hula-Hoops in Amber, an unincorporated community northeast of Anamosa — were brought to the attention to Jones County supervisors earlier this month.

Supervisors on Tuesday voted to reduce the speed limit on E23 County Home Road from 55 to 35 miles per hour.

“I think if lowering the speed limit possibly decreases the likelihood of an accident, then it’s a good thing,” said County Engineer Derek Snead.

Snead said the speed limit will be lowered on approximately 900 feet of the road. Speed limit signs have been ordered and will take about two weeks to be delivered, he said.

Addressing a question posed to supervisors during a Sept. 10 meeting, Snead said the tree is right on the line of the county’s right of way, halfway in the county right of way and halfway on the property of Supervisor Jon Zirkelbach.

Zirkelbach could not be reached for comment.

“I don’t imagine it will be the last time someone will talk about” the Hula-Hoop Tree, Snead said.

Hula-Hoops first began appearing on the tree in 2015.

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County Supervisor Lloyd Eaken said the board is concerned the tree could be “dangerous,” especially with the number of hoops weighing on the tree.

Also, people have been seen parking on the shoulder of County Home Road, running across the road and throwing a hoop on the tree.

Bobby Krum, president of the Amber Community Club, said the tree “put Amber back on the map.”

Chris Nadge of Anamosa, administrator of the Amber Iowa Hula-Hoop Tree Facebook page, said he thinks reducing the speed limit near the tree is the “perfect” solution.

Nadge said his friends and co-workers who live in Amber think that even without the tree, traffic moves through Amber too fast.

“It’s simple, and we’re happy, not just for the sake of the Hula-Hoop Tree, but for the town of Amber,” Nadge said.

Nadge said that he and others are “overjoyed” with the support the tree has received from people telling stories about how much the tree means to them.

Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

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