Environmental Integrity Workshop Highlights

University of Dubuque
Blades Hall
February 21st, 2017 | 6-8pm

RSVP: Social + Cultural Vibrancy Workshop – April 19th, 2017 @ The Smokestack

On Tuesday, February 21st, the City hosted the Imagine Dubuque Environmental Integrity Workshop at the University of Dubuque’s Blades Hall.  The community-wide workshop ran from 6-8 pm and served as the second workshop in a four-part series, the first of which was held on October 25th, 2016 and focused on Economic Prosperity.

To help inform and guide the Environmental Integrity Workshop, a preceding ‘Working Group Session’ took place on February 15th at Loras College — click here to view details of the working group session.



Over 70 community members turned out to take part in interactive polling and collaborative idea sharing focused on the following environmental topics to make Dubuque a more viable, livable and equitable community:

  • Healthy Air + Clean Water
  • Mobility + Land Use
  • Native Plants + Animals
  • Reuse + Recycling

The evening began with a brief presentation and status update by Mike Hoffman of Teska Associates, Inc.  The overview introduced Imagine Dubuque (the City’s New Comprehensive Plan), its purpose, timeline, and community engagement highlights. During the presentation, participants enjoyed a complimentary dinner and took part in a short online Environmental Integrity Quick Poll.  The results of the poll were shared in real-time following the presentation to help spur discussion in the group activity stations that followed. 


 Activity Stations


Four stations corresponding to each topic were staged around the room.  Participants rotated through the stations in groups between 10-15 people to share and build upon each other’s ideas.  Each of the four group discussions lasted 15 minutes, with 3 minutes between stations.


Activity Station Topic: Healthy Air + Clean Water

Participants were asked to consider ways individuals, businesses, and government could ensure healthy air and clean water in Dubuque.

Emerging Priorities: 

Stormwater capture, infiltration, healthy soil, mobile air quality monitoring, reduce erosion and agricultural runoff, reduce chemical use, mitigate toxic sites, further public education on best practices.

What can individuals + businesses can do?

  • Educate each other and further social awareness of safe and acceptable standards, products and practices (i.e. no spraying round-up for green lawns).
  • Citizen scientist movement (i.e. Mobile air quality monitoring stations)
  • Set high / healthy standards, maintain private property, clean up toxins

What can government do?

  • Emphasis on rain water capture
  • Raise energy standards of buildings
  • Work with surrounding watershed communities

Activity Station Topic: Mobility + Land Use

Participants were asked to discuss key challenges and opportunities associated with two corridors: Central Avenue and John F. Kennedy Road.

Central Avenue

Emerging Priorities:

  • Improve bike and pedestrian safety
  • Address neighborhood retail needs
  • Improve intersections and traffic flow


  • Civic space opportunity at 20th/Central
  • Landscaping opportunity at 18th/Central

Retail + Land Use

  • Façade improvement program
  • Attract businesses that meet neighborhood needs
  • Redevelop as neighborhood-scaled, themed commercial district

Infrastructure + Streetscape

  • Convert White Street to two-way, implement road diet on Central
  • Consider John Deere traffic
  • Lighting and street trees


JFK Road

Emerging Priorities:

  • Reduce car speeds
  • Improve crossings
  • Middle Fork Catfish Creek Trail
  • Smart business opportunities
  • Landscape treatments
  • More robust public transit

Bike + Pedestrian Safety

  • Pedestrian overpass at Hoover
  • Reduce curb cuts
  • Tie in with schools/seniors
  • Crosstown bike/ped trail
  • Protected bike lanes

Retail + Land Use

  • Landscaping treatments
  • Repurpose or reenergize Kennedy Mall
  • Invert Kennedy Mall (cars inside)
  • Neighborhood scales development hubs


Activity Station Topic: Native Plants + Animals

Discussion was facilitated using a map of parks/open space and environmental features.  Participants were asked to identify the natural areas they visited most frequently, areas they felt ought to be protected from future development, specific park improvements and what the City can do.

Participants would like to see more natural areas engage student, as does the E.B. Lyons Center.

Emerging Priorities:

  • Continue rich variety of Dubuque’s parks and recreational amenities
  • Celebrate cultural and natural heritage with print and digital guides, tours and mobile apps
  • Plant native plants for pollinators and natural wildlife corridors; edible plants for people
  • Encourage students and young children to take to the outdoors

Favorite Parks/Natural Areas

  • Mines of Spain
  • Bergfeld Recreation Area
  • Heritage Trail
  • Mississippi Riverwalk
  • Dubuque Water Trail

Conservation Areas + Efforts

  • Moss Park
  • Wildlife Corridors (migratory birds and deer)
  • Pollinators (bees and butterflies)
  • Little Maquoketa River
  • Inventory and protect mature trees

Specific improvements

  • Tell stories of cultural heritage (i.e. library steps elevator shaft and Flat Iron Park)
  • Lunchtime walking tours
  • Improve multi-modal access
  • More open-ended, natural open space and less programmed, manicured open space

What can the city do?

  • Add more greenspace downtown
  • Activate underutilized sites and properties
  • Provide a park within walking distance of everyone
  • Provide guides on native plantings and grassland management to private property owners
  • Ensure new developments provide green space
  • Protect street trees and maintain right-of-way

Activity Station Topic: Reuse + Recycling

Participants at this station discussed ways individuals, businesses and the City can reduce and ultimately eliminate waste (i.e. purchase items with less packaging and reduce the need for landfills).


Adaptive reuse of buildings was a common priority of the workshop.

Emerging Priorities:

  • A variety of compost options for residents and businesses
  • Reuse of buildings and land
  • Reuse center and shop (perhaps a Habitat re-store)
  • Plastic bottles and plastic bag regulations
  • Information/education to change individual behaviors
  • Find a way to recycle glass bottles – maybe donate to artists?

What can individuals do?

  • Don’t use plastic bags, plastic utensils, plastic bottles
  • More composting: opt-in, greater incentives and more education on an individual level
  • Take material to makerspaces or start a material swap meet.
  • Focus on repair and reuse

What can businesses do?

  • Donate extra food to food banks (i.e. Panera Bread)
  • Repurpose materials – reuse store
  • Partner with non-profits
  • Find a way to monetize recycling and reuse to make it sustainable

What can government do?

  • Restrictions on reuse of food – Address at State level
  • Tax on plastic water bottles
  • Structure public input at DMASWA board meetings and adopt a zero-waste plan and strategy built on community input
  • Work with other municipalities to encourage businesses to reduce packaging


Following group discussions, everyone gathered together for a quick recap of the major priorities heard and discussed at each activity station. A big round of applause and thank you were extended to the 70+ attendees and all were encouraged to download the Imagine Dubuque project app, follow along on the website, keep sharing ideas, and mark their calendar for the upcoming Social + Cultural Vibrancy Workshop (April 19) and Equity Workshop (June 27).


Next Up

Social + Cultural Vibrancy Workshop – April 19th, 2017 | 6pm @ The Smokestack