State and Province News December 2010
In late October, Vulcan Materials presented an Earth Science Day program for sixth graders from La Grange School District 105 at its McCook Quarry. Western Springs Suburban Life reports that more than 100 sixth graders were given the opportunity to see classroom lessons come to life as they learned how science, technology, engineering, and math skills are used at the site. One lesson explained how limestone is formed from the remains of sea creatures. The students attended a bus tour and participated in lab tests of rock quality and water quality.
Iowa City’s newest and largest park, the 207-acre Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, is set to undergo a $6.5 million transformation, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports. The former S&G Materials sand and gravel operation was purchased for $1 million in 2006. Workers have now paved a walking and biking trail that circles the lake, and the city opened bids for the $1.2 million second phase of the project, with construction continuing into the spring on an access drive, parking areas, a marina facility, and a boat ramp. Remaining items include the main lodge, additional parking, large shelters, new trails, and the beach. They are slated for the final two phases of construction.
A former 125-acre gravel mine in Hugo may be transformed into a community ballpark using tax funds intended for reclamation. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Washington County collects approximately $30,000 per year in taxes on gravel hauled from county gravel mines. That money goes into a special fund designated for reclaiming abandoned pits or, if there are no abandoned mines, for the construction of bridges and roads. City officials saw a recent expansion of the state statute as an opportunity to put the funds to another use, but the county turned down its request to use the funds to reclaim the site as a ballpark. City officials continue to look for a funding mechanism for the project.
The Jefferson County Council unanimously approved John Harness’ request to mine sand and gravel on his property. According to KTVI, the decision drew harsh criticism from area residents who have framed the issue as a battle between people and property rights. More than 400 have signed petitions protesting plans for the operation. Harness says that he will accept any permit restrictions placed on the operation, while residents say they plan to hire an attorney and appeal the decision.
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