By Kristin Hill
Construction of the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project started in June 2015. The project required a lot of excavation, relocation of utilities, and construction. The creek channel is now finished and fully functional. This spring, crews will complete the remaining construction and landscaping. The City plans to host a ribbon cutting and community celebration on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. More details will be shared as plans for the event are finalized.
Amenities along the newly restored creek include the E. 24th St. overlook, a play area with slides, an outdoor classroom/amphitheater, the E. 22nd St. spillway, and a multi-use trail system that connects to the Heritage Trail and Mississippi River Trail (MRT). There is a street-level trail and a trail that runs along the edge of the creek, which passes underneath the E. 22nd St. and Rhomberg Ave. bridges. The trail system was designed to loop around the creek, which stretches from E. 24th St. to Garfield Ave. This loop is approximately one mile.
The on-street route from the Upper Bee Branch Creek to the Lower Bee Branch Creek will be Garfield Ave., to Pine St., to E. 19th St., to Washington St. When you turn east off Washington St. onto E. 16th St. and cross the railroad tracks you will find yourself at the Lower Bee Branch Creek.
The Lower Bee Branch trail runs along the creek and detention basin up to Kerper Blvd. (behind Dairy Queen and Fazoli’s). A portion of the trail closed in February 2016 for the construction of a new overlook. It re-opened this spring, while the overlook and adjacent parking lot are expected to open in June 2017. Until then, the City recommends trail users park on E. 15th St. or Sycamore St.
Improvements associated with the Lower Basin Overlook include a plaza, an open-air pavilion, drinking fountain, bike racks, trash receptacles, benches, lighting, and landscaping. Over the next five years, the City is looking to continue the Lower Bee Branch Trail around the detention basin and extend it over 12th St. and 11th St. to the Intermodal Transportation Center.
To sign up for Bee Branch Project-related email and/or text alerts, including information on the ribbon cutting on July 19, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/notifyme.