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Archives for November 10, 2017

‘The Loop’ offers corridor plan update

The Loop Community Improvement District is in the process of developing a master plan for the Business Loop Corridor. Our goal is to beautify and enhance the public space along the street in a way that will increase economic activity, improve the infrastructure, and create a street that is more than just a quick route across town. Much of the focus will be on changing the traffic patterns so that customers will have better access to businesses and on creating a more attractive entrance into Columbia from I-70.

We hosted our second public input meeting Nov. 1 and it gave our consulting team the opportunity to seek input on their proposals.

Much of the work is focused on creating focal points along the street — either for beautification projects (like landscaping or public art), community gathering places, or for welcoming gateways into Columbia. Other ideas addressed concerns about creating safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists, managing flooding and stormwater, and creating a coherent graphic identity for the street.

We also want to encourage property owners to take advantage of key changes to the zoning code which allows for new uses on the street like urban agriculture or artisan industries (small-scale fabrication, preparation or production of arts, crafts, foods and beverages, such as welding, sculpting, carpentry and local, small-batch bakeries, candy shops, cheese shops, craft breweries and micro-distilleries).

One idea is to transform an unused surface level parking into a gathering place complete with picnic tables, lawn games, a stage, a place for beer taps and parking bays for food trucks.

Our consulting team has recommended improving the intersections at Garth and at Rangeline with roundabouts. We realize that the MODOT required medians, which make access difficult, so roundabouts will allow for easy u-turns. They will also keep traffic flowing, prevent backups at traffic lights, and will stop drivers from cutting through people’s parking lots. As an added benefit, the center of the roundabout can be beautified with native plants and art installations.

Finally, since this is a long-term plan, we’ve asked for some quick projects that we can do that will enliven the street and give it a strong identity. Common design elements on banners, street signs and other amenities will add some quick color and interest to the area.

The Loop Community Improvement District





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Beautifying Peterson

Southern Clay County city selected for 2018 Community Visioning Program

Peterson is among 10 Iowa communities selected to participate in Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning program in 2018.

The program has been selecting communities with fewer than 10,000 residents with existing transportation-related issues and a committee of volunteers willing to dedicate their time and talents to the visioning process.

“It is a great opportunity to possibly come up with some projects to better the community,” Peterson City Councilwoman Deb Collingwood said. “It is a technical assistance grant. They are at the stage where they are coming up with the committee. The committee will brainstorm ideas for outdoor projects which can be signage, landscaping, walkways or bike trails.”

The program does not give Peterson a dollar amount for improvements, but instead lends assistance at all stages of the project.

“If Peterson were to pursue professional design services such as this, it would cost thousands of dollars and that is not always feasible for small communities,” Project Coordinator Rebecca Castle said.

Peterson is still in the process of recruiting its steering committee. The program would like to have 10 to 12 “very engaged” members in the group including some younger community members. There will be a kickoff meeting from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Gateway Center in Ames.

“The meeting is open to all the committee members and to the public,” Castle said. “We do not have an upper limit on the number of committee members we can have so the more the better.”

Collingwood said the program began when Castle approached the Peterson mayor and City Council.

“Rebecca had been through our community and she was impressed with Peterson,” Collingwood said. “We have a lot to offer in Peterson as far as its beauty and its historic value.”

“I am the Glacial Trails Scenic Byways coordinator and Peterson and Linn Grove are the only two towns on the byway,” Castle said. “One of the requirements for the visioning grant is that it has to be on a state highway and Peterson is the only town on a state highway. I have worked with Trees Forever on a similar trails visioning program in my community of Imogene. I found it very beneficial and thought it would be a good fit for Peterson.”

Since 1996, 245 Iowa communities have benefited from the Community Visioning program. The other 2018 visioning communities are Coon Rapids, Corning, Decorah, Forest City, Glidden, Graettinger, Moville, Plymouth and Wapello.

The Community Visioning program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation in partnership with Iowa State University Landscape Architecture Extension and Trees Forever, an Iowa-based nonprofit environmental advocacy organization.

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Six ideas to transform Britain’s decommissioned gasholders make shortlist in RIBA competition

A crematorium, a sports field and a multi-storey charging station for driverless cars are among six shortlisted proposals to repurpose decommissioned gasholder sites across the UK.

Housing and a battery storage space were also put forward as uses for the circular wells, which are left behind when a gasholder and its latticed steel frame have been demolished.

Verhagen and Rodriguez’s proposal sees the wells left behind after the gasholders’ dismantling infilled with telescopic cyclindrical blocks

The contest was organised by RIBA Competitions for British gas and electricity network National Grid. It asked architects to develop proposals that could regenerate over 100 of the former industrial sites, dotted across the UK.

The six shortlisted teams are: CF Architects, 318 Studio, Max Architects, Wilson Owens Owens Architects, Outpost, and Jan Verhagen and Priscille Rodriguez of Unit Architects.

Max Architects has pitched a housing development surrounding a circular boating pond

Gasholders are gradually being taken out of use. This is because technology has improved, allowing gas to be stored in the underground mains network, rather than above ground.

Verhagen and Rodriguez’s proposal sees the wells left behind after the gasholders’ dismantling infilled with telescopic cyclindrical blocks, while Max Architects has pitched a housing development surrounding a circular boating pond.

Wilson Owens Owens Architects pitched to convert a pair of the wells into an indoor and outdoor sports centre

Plans by 318 Studio would convert several of the pits to create a semi-subterranean crematorium, and Outpost would encircle a circular patch of landscaping with a mixed-use development housed in individual gabled blocks.

Wilson Owens Owens Architects pitched to convert a pair of the wells into an indoor and outdoor sports centre, with the latter enclosed by tall fencing, echoing the distinctive steel framework of the demolished gasholders.

CF Architects looked to the future needs of autonomous electric vehicles for its concept

CF Architects looked to the future needs of autonomous electric vehicles for its concept – two spiralling car parks with charging points and drop-off spots for both terrestrial and flying vehicles.

Outpost would encircle a circular patch of landscaping with a mixed-use development housed in individual gabled blocks

Old gasholder sites have also prompted a number of other interesting proposals in recent years.

Swiss firm Herzog de Meuron recently unveiled plans to convert Stockholm’s former gasworks into a residential neighbourhood. Meanwhile, the King’s Cross redevelopment in London, Bell Philips created a circular park within the frame of an old gasholder.

The winner of the Gasholder Bases competition will be announced in December 2017.

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Landscape architecture students create living laboratory at Rutgers

landscape architect students learn more outdoorsAt Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, landscape architecture students and faculty worked together to create a garden that transitions into a meadow that now serves as an outdoor classroom.

This garden is another one of Rutgers’ living laboratories, which utilizes the campus landscape and facilities to demonstrate sustainable practices, such as rain gardens and solar panels.

Twenty-five landscape architecture planting design students worked on designing and installing the meadow transition that is located in front of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH).

The garden includes native plants that complement those already growing in the meadow and are planted in large drifts to offset the more seasonal meadow plants. Semicircles of turfgrass were also planted in strategic locations for observing pollinators.

Students in the Planting Design class were able to put their knowledge to the test by selecting species based on seasonal interest and color, plant heights and textures, hydrology, plant competition and wildlife needs.

The students also worked with grounds operations staff Pat Harrity and Tony Sgro to successfully incorporate the project into the campus landscape. Over 400 plants were laid out and adjust prior to planting. Harrity and Sgro provided equipment and personnel support during the project.

The living lab serves to encourage interdisciplinary interactions. Plant biology and turfgrass program professor Jim Murphy educated the landscape architecture students on selecting turf varieties and installation. Fine fescue, tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass mixes are all used in the turfgrass lookouts.

Over the summer, interns monitored changes in the meadow over time and next year’s Planting Design class will assess the design’s success along with plant survival and weed growth in plots that had different soil prep protocols.

Some of the experiments that will be conducted include weed and nutrient control to find the best management protocols for the support of the meadow transition.

Check out the video below to hear why students prefer this hands-on approach.

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Real estate briefs

  • Bank of America has announced KNOX as the 2017 Neighborhood Builder recipient. Through horticulture and agriculture, KNOX forges partnerships between residents, businesses and government, to build greener and more beautiful neighborhoods in Hartford. KNOX provides workforce training and coordinates a variety of green programs, including community gardening, Trees for Hartford Neighborhoods and Hartford Cleans Up. Above, KNOX representatives receive their award. Photo: Contributed Photo Courtesy Of Bank Of America / RJ LaRussa



NORTH HAVEN — Barbara L. Pearce, CEO and President of Pearce Real Estate, recently announced that Carl Russell, SIOR, CCIM is the recipient of a 2017 National Commercial Award from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Russell was selected by his local association, the New Haven Middlesex Association of REALTORS®, as their CID honoree for the Community Service Award he received at the 2016 Deals of the Year Awards.

Russell, a specialist in investment analysis, has more than 40 years experience in the field of real estate. He received a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University and an M.B A. in International Trade and Finance from Lehigh University. Russell is a member of the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® (SIOR) and a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) where he also is a nationally known instructor of the CCIM program. He currently is Assistant Adjunct Professor of Real Estate at New York University. He also holds membership in the Greater New Haven Association of REALTORS®, Connecticut Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of REALTORS®. He is a past president of the Connecticut CCIM Chapter, Connecticut SIOR Chapter, Connecticut CID chapter, and the Greater New Haven Association of REALTORS®. He has been named “REALTOR® of the Year” by both the Greater New Haven Board of REALTORS® and Connecticut Association of REALTORS®. He is also past president of the Rotary Club of Orange.

Pearce Real Estate is a full-service real estate company with more than 100 agents and eight branch offices in greater New Haven and the shoreline. Commercial real estate offices are located in North Haven, Milford, and Rocky Hill. All listings are available on the web at and

Bank of America awards grant to KNOX

HARTFORD – Bank of America has announced KNOX as the 2017 Neighborhood Builder recipient. Through horticulture and agriculture, KNOX forges partnerships between residents, businesses and government, to build greener and more beautiful neighborhoods in Hartford. KNOX provides workforce training and coordinates a variety of green programs, including community gardening, Trees for Hartford Neighborhoods and Hartford Cleans Up.

Neighborhood Builders is a cornerstone program for Bank of America. Through Neighborhood Builders, the bank provides non-profits with $200,000 in unrestricted funding, leadership development for the organization’s Executive Director and Emerging Leader, and access to a network of peer organizations across the U.S. The combination of funding and leadership development enables the organization to create greater impact, scale for strategic growth, and better prepare for the future by providing the tools and resources to develop stronger strategic plans and enhance funding opportunities.

“KNOX has a strong history within Hartford and plays an instrumental role in addressing the community needs of the city; with programs focused on workforce development, wellness and environmental sustainability, they are uniquely positioned to make a difference for Hartford residents,” said Kevin Cunningham, Connecticut president, Bank of America, in a written statement. “The Neighborhood Builders program is designed to connect outstanding non-profits, like KNOX, to funding and development resources in order to enhance operations and increase impact.”

KNOX employs nearly 50 Hartford residents, providing them the training, skills and opportunities to work in green, cross-industry jobs and be a positive influence in the city they call home. Its Youth Corps members maintain 30 landscapes annually, as well as 20 community gardens that provide over 400 Hartford families with healthy, affordable food. KNOX’s tree crew plants over 500 trees per year, while maintaining another 3,000. KNOX also welcomes nearly 3,000 volunteers each year, empowering them to participate in the organization’s environmental beautification work.

“KNOX is grateful to Bank of America for this grant, which will allow us to continue to provide training and job opportunities for Hartford residents who need them,” said KNOX Executive Director Ron Pitz. “Each of these jobs revitalizes our neighborhoods, whether through trees, gardens, or landscaping. This continues to be possible with the help and friendship of partners like Bank of America.”

KNOX uses horticulture as a catalyst for community engagement, forging partnerships between residents, businesses, and government to build stronger, greener, healthier and more beautiful neighborhoods in Hartford. Since its founding in 1966, KNOX has been a key partner in improving the city of Hartford and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of community greening. Principal services include neighborhood beautification and reforestation, park improvement efforts, development of greenways, the oversight and maintenance of both community gardens and public green spaces and the successful administration of a workforce development and green jobs training program. KNOX relies on donations and support from the community to accomplish its mission. More information is available at

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Urban Refuge: How Cities Can Help Rebuild Declining Bee Populations

The billowing stainless steel forms of Frank Gehry’s Pritzker bandshell seem to float up from behind the 3.5-acre Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, backed by Chicago’s celebrated skyline. Another landmark in a city long a laboratory for innovation in architecture and landscaping, the garden has been called a “model of responsible horticulture.” Masses of flowering perennials and grasses are a striking counterpoint to the surrounding walls of concrete and glass. Perhaps most unexpected, at a place that sits atop a 4,000-vehicle underground parking garage and railroad depot in the inner city, are the bees that flit from flower to flower.

In the 21st century, urban green spaces must be many things: verdant getaways, playgrounds, gathering spots. As cities continue to sprawl across the planet, leaving mere patches and fragments of wilderness in their wake, gardens increasingly must also serve as living space for native plants and animals. Not every species is amenable to city life, but from Berlin to Melbourne to Berkeley, researchers are finding that flower patches — in parks, residential properties, community vegetable plots, and vacant lots — support surprisingly healthy populations of bees, the most important pollinators in agricultural and most natural areas. In a few cases, urban bee populations are more diverse and abundant than those outside the city.

In fact, as Rebecca Tonietto was surveying bees in Chicago in 2008, just four years after the Lurie Garden opened to much fanfare, she made a remarkable discovery. Among the lanky sunflowers and bursts of purple bee balm was Lasioglossum michiganense, a native sweat bee never before found in Illinois, collecting pollen and nectar on the enormous green roof, the most urban of landscapes. 

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November gardening tips

James Sagmiller

Cold winter weather does limit what we can do in the garden in November in our northern Rocky Mountain climate (USDA zones 3, 4 and 5). If ground is still unfrozen, prepare beds for next spring’s early crops. If you still have unfrozen manure or compost it can be spread over vegetable and flower beds and trenched into furrows to receive frost (this will break down over winter and lighten and feed the soil). I have spread manure and compost right over the snow on planting beds and it worked just fine.

Check over which varieties of flowers and vegetables you liked or disliked this year. Make a note of which ones did well. Keep your records up to date if you can. Check stores of fruits and vegetables and discard spoiling ones. Clean all your tools, oil wooden handles and replace cracked ones. Drain gas and oil out of lawnmower for winter.

Finish planting garlic, shallots, and Egyptian walking onions before the ground freezes solid.

Have row covers ready for remaining crops in the field; also have covers ready for cold frames. Carefully store row covers before winter; make sure the fabric is dry before folding and storing.

Early in the month, if not done earlier, harvest and store cabbages. To store them, turn them upside down to dry, take off extra leaves and place them in a trench of sand and cover with a wetproof cover open at both ends to keep them dry. Close the ends of your cover with straw when frosty. Also, to store beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, salsify for winter: dry and cut the leafy tops off. Dig a pit in a dry place if possible. Put down two inches of sand, then the vegetable roots, then more sand, alternating. Cover them with a final layer of sand and straw to protect them.

Admit air to cold frames and the greenhouse on sunny days; pick off any mildewed or moldy leaves. Apply manure or compost to outdoor asparagus and rhubarb beds to 4 inches deep. Weed onions, leeks, spinach, mache, cresses. In frames, when it is cold, cover lettuces, cabbages, etc. Harvest late and frame–grown cabbage, spinach, carrots, peas, cauliflower, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts.

If the ground has not frozen solid, finish dividing and replanting perennials before winter freezeup. Transplant seedling perennials and flowers into flats; keep them in a cold frame or cold greenhouse. Mulch primroses, bleeding hearts, and any marginally hardy perennials with pine or fir branches. Cut back established pansies and collect violet seed.

Finish planting bulbs out and plant bulbs to be forced in pots. Weed bulb beds and spread bone meal if not done last month. Put poultry netting over the top of the soil of newly planted tulips, crocus and hyacinths to discourage squirrels and cats who like to dig and scratch into fresh soil. Plant these same bulbs in Vole King wire baskets to protect from voles.

In the greenhouse, plants will be at rest. Keep their foliage dry and do not overwater. Succulent plants such as cacti may need little or no water all winter. If mold appears, dust with sulfur. Moving air inside a greenhouse discourages mold.

If you plan to keep any plants in pots over the winter, plunge them up to their pot rims into a holding bed. The reason for doing this is that plant roots suffer greatly from the wide temperature swings of air during winter. Good substances for this are: fine gravel, bark, sand, sawdust or soil. If you have any bulbs, perennials, roses or shrubs growing in pots outside, be sure to sink them up to the rims to protect them from cold over winter.

Cover cold frames if it is frosty and cold. If you vent the frame, make sure no direct sun hits plants while they are frozen.

Weed fruiting shrubs, add manure to raspberry beds. Finish storing apples, pears, etc. Clean all leaves and mummy fruit around trees to prevent disease and discourage insects. Sow seeds of fruit trees and rootstocks.

Finish planting deciduous shrubs and trees. Mound soil around the base of tender hybrid tea roses to a depth of about 10 to 12 inches. Evergreen boughs may be placed over the soil mound. The soil and boughs will protect the lower portion of tender rose plants over winter.

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Jackie Power’s gardening tips for a bracing November

Website by CobwebMedia

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Six Tips for Fall Gardening | |

As evenings become cooler and crisper and the daylight gets shorter and shorter, it’s a signal that frost is upon us. The change in temperature and season can leave gardeners longing for the warm summer air, instead of prepping for winter.

There’s still plenty of gardening to be done this time of year. Get the most out of your fall harvest and set your garden up for spring success by jumping on these garden tasks now.

Six Tips for Fall Gardening

1. Plant trees.

It’s no secret that the best time to plant a tree or shrub is in the fall. Before you plant, evaluate the landscape to assess the amount of sunlight, ground vegetation, proximity to permanent structures, and hazards, such as overhead wires or underground pipes. Choose a site where the tree will be able to grow to its mature height. Then, dig a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball. Place the tree in the hole at the same depth it was growing before and fill half the hole with compost.

Mix in an organic fertilizer with the soil. Backfill the hole, give it a nice drink of water and watch your tree grow.

2. Get bulbs in the ground.

Spring-blooming bulbs can generally be planted any time before the soil begins to freeze. Give bulbs their best shot by planting a few weeks before the ground is frozen to help them establish roots.

3. Improve the soil.

While fall is for planting, it’s also the perfect time for prepping for next season. Healthy soil is the backbone of every successful garden. Test soil now for pH and nutrient levels and amend accordingly.

Dig 4 inches deep with a stainless-steel trowel and either use a DIY soil test or stop in with your soil sample and we will test the pH for you. To adjust the pH level of your soil, use Espoma’s Organic Garden Lime to raise the pH of very acidic soil. Poke holes in the soil’s surface and scatter on the lime. Rake lightly into the top inch of soil. Or, apply a soil acidifier to lower the pH of extremely alkaline soil.

5. Create compost.

All of those colorful leaves that are falling make for perfect additions to your compost pile. If you don’t have a compost pile already, start one! The best compost contains about 25 times more carbon-rich materials than nitrogen-rich materials. Think of these as brown and green materials. Brown materials include paper, straw or dried leaves. Green materials include garden and food scraps for rich, fertile compost.

6. Top with mulch.

Add a thick blanket of mulch on garden beds to reduce evaporation and control weeds. Choose organic mulch that will improve the soil as it decomposes. Lay 2 to 3 inches of mulch around established plants. When mulching trees, the mulch should extend away from the plant to just beyond the drip line covering a bit of the roots. Keep 2 to 3 inches away from the stems of woody plants and 6 inches away from buildings to avoid pests.

Make the most of this beautiful fall in the garden.

This monthly column is written by Sandi McDonald of Hillermann Nursery Florist, Washington.

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Tips to get your lawn and garden ready for winter





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