By Dianne Koch
The Bee Branch Greenway Project is finally a reality after several years of planning and building. The Grand Opening was July 19th with speakers, organizers, city personnel, and city officials sharing in the celebration. The open “day-lighted” project allows for excessive rainwater to rise as necessary and drain in a timely manner rather than being forced through a single narrow century-old tunnel that could not adequately carry large rain amounts. Six national disaster declarations between 1999 and 2008 prompted the city to give serious attention to alleviate dangerous basement flooding, electrocution, and mold issues for residents in the affected area. In fact, the city’s website even noted a family’s situation when they were in their basement during a tornado warning and the rainwaters came rushing in the basement. The family was facing the choice of going to the first floor and endure the winds or choosing to stay in the rapidly rising waters of the basement and face drowning. Hopefully those days are in the past.
Today, the landscaping and grass has matured, residents are using the paths daily, and the daylighting concept has allowed the Bee Branch waters to rise as necessary but also recede to normal levels. Signboards explain the project and the prairie plantings along the path. Trees, shrubs, and flowers provide accents through the four-block area. Architectural features add artistic flair to retaining walls, the bridges, and main channel itself. Come on down and enjoy Dubuque’s newest trails. It’s worth a hike or a bike ride.