January 24, 2013

Dubuque County, Iowa, Receives Final Report from Volunteer Planning Team

CHICAGO — A four-member volunteer team of planning experts, part of the American Planning Association's Community Planning Assistance Team program (CPAT), provided third-party observations, recommendations, and findings to Dubuque Smart Planning Consortium and its partners, including the residents of Dubuque County to identify how the county can revamp and improve their 26-mile historical Heritage Trail. The team's analysis and recommendations following their investigations have now been published in a final report.

More than 100 people attended the input session on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, held in Dyersville, Iowa. After the team's working visit, they identified five strategic areas that require the county's attention:

  • Create ideas and strategies to connect the surrounding communities along the trail to add value to users' experience such as highlighting trail destinations with signage, more trailhead parking, creating camp sites and additional hiking, emergency management, and business opportunities.
  • Coordinate a "wayfinding" system on the trail using distinct colors and shapes symbolizing trail signs, mile markers, directional, informational, locational, and navigational information.
  • Develop methods to better plan and manage the trail, which includes annual trail user counts and purchasing equipment to aid in the maintenance of the trail's all-natural, crushed limestone surface.
  • Improve safety and examine potential improvements or amenities along the trail such as parking, restrooms, and drinking water.
  • Incorporate small trail fees to help off-set operational costs for maintaining the trail. A yearly pass example is as low as $10.50 per year or $0.60 per day for senior citizens.

The team's preliminary report was presented to community members and stakeholders on Saturday, October 20, 2012. The preliminary presentation can be found online, along with other details of the project.

Learn more about the Dubuque County CPAT.

The American Planning Association's Community Planning Assistance program helps communities with limited planning resources. Through the program, teams of professional planners are matched with communities requesting assistance on a variety of planning topics such as economic development, sustainability, transportation, and housing. The team works with the community and provides recommendations on how to enhance planning and envision a better future. Dubuque County was the 11th community to participate in APA's CPAT initiative.

The Dubuque County CPAT was led by Paula Reeves, AICP CTP, who currently manages the Community Design Office at Washington State Department of Transportation and serves on the Board of Directors for the APA Washington Chapter, chairing the Community Planning Assistance program. Team members included:

  • Jean K. Akers, AICP, park planner and landscape architect for the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation Department in Vancouver, Washington;
  • Jason M. Epley, AICP, who has specialized in comprehensive planning, development regulation, urban design, public involvement, and meeting facilitation for more than 17 years; and
  • Steve Lane, AICP, the senior environmental planner with Parsons Brinckerhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Read more about the Dubuque County team.

The community planning assistance team program was established in 1995 by the American Planning Association's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Previous teams have worked in Crestdale, North Carolina; Buzzard Point, Washington, D.C.; Slidell, Louisiana; and Henderson Point, Mississippi, among other locations.

Learn more about the Community Assistance Program.


Roberta Rewers, APA Public Affairs; 312-786-6395; rrewers@planning.org