COLFAX, Iowa- The City of Colfax is about to receive a gift. A quarry, which has reached the end of production. The Martin Marietta Corporation is closing its mine located north of Colfax by Interstate 80. The community will take possession of the property on April 20th.
The Iowa State University Design College is assisting with students to help come up with design ideas. So far, Colfax does not yet have a budge to develop the area.
Doug Garrett, President of the Colfax Park and Recreation Auxiliary Board, which is a non-profit board working to secure this donation. The quarry consists of 480 acres, and a 50 acre private family trust may also be incorporated into the project.
“Initially, it’s a park and recreation area,” said Garrett. “We also see it as an economic development opportunity.”
Students visited the quarry on a snowy February day, and have held a town meeting in Colfax to gather ideas. This week a number of students presented initial ideas on what could be done with the property, from a design standpoint.
Carl Rogers, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, said 31 undergraduate students and 10 graduate students have been working on the project.
“The intersection of ecology and landscape architecture in this quarry reclamation project offers students a challenge to think more about the environment in order to improve the quality of life for all living systems,” said Rogers. “It also presents the challenge of making the park a destination landscape with the hope of changing the economy of Colfax.”
“We’ve been encouraged to think outside the box without a budget and a lot of community members only see dollar signs and that makes them hesitant,” said student Joe Biegger, of Clive.
Garrett said the budget planning for development of the quarry is still in the early stages.
“To do it the way we want to it will take millions of dollars,” said Garrett. “We don’t have the budget of Des Moines, that’s done Grays Lake, or what Bill Stowe’s doing at Waterworks Park, or what West Des Moines has done at Raccoon,” said Garrett. “It may take 20-30 years to get to that quality of a product.”