DeWitt 2030: Envisioning Opportunity

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DeWitt 2030:

Envisioning Opportunity

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Background

  1. Physical Setting

  2. Historical Development

  3. Planning History

  1. Public Participation

  1. Process

  2. Results

  3. Priorities

  1. Community Character

  2. Housing

  1. Affordable Housing

  2. Housing Market

  3. Senior Housing

  1. Transportation

  1. Vehicles

  1. Road System

  2. Parking

  1. Pedestrians

  2. Bicycles

  3. Railroads

  4. Airports

  5. Transit

  6. Commuting

  1. Economic Development

  1. Downtown

  2. Crossroads Business Park

  3. Private Businesses and Organizations

  4. Employment

  1. Public Infrastructure and Utilities

  1. Water System

  2. Sanitary Sewer

  1. Hazards

  1. Floods

  1. Flood Mitigation and Storm Water Management

  2. Flood Response

  3. Flood Recovery

  1. Agricultural and Natural Resources

  1. Agricultural Resources

  2. Natural Resources

  1. Community Facilities

  1. Facilities

  2. Parks

  1. Ashindel Park

  2. Forest Park

  3. Little Trees Park

  4. Lincoln Park

  5. Paarmann Park

  6. Pool Park

  7. Soccer Field Complex

  8. Westbrook Park

  9. DeWitt Dog Park

  1. Schools

  1. Implementation

  1. Goals and Objectives

  2. Intergovernmental Collaboration

  1. Local

  2. State

  3. Federal

  4. Private Entities

  1. Conclusions

Appendix A – Public Participation Complete Results

Future Land Use Map
City Facilities

  1. Introduction

The City of DeWitt Comprehensive Plan intends to provide continuity and guidance for land use decisions, development, and improvement within the City of DeWitt. The City of DeWitt Comprehensive Plan is an official expression of the community’s desires and capabilities for future growth and development. The City of DeWitt’s zoning code, subdivision regulations, and building codes provide specific regulation and serve to implement the vision for the City of DeWitt that is set forth in this document.

The current plan, DeWitt 2030, is a continuation of the longstanding planning tradition within the City of DeWitt. The effort to create a new plan was done in order to provide a more current and up to date account of the City of DeWitt’s conditions, goals, and priorities. This plan is intended to serve as a functional document through the year 2030.

  1. Background

  1. Physical Setting

The physical attributes of land, water bodies, and climate shape the character of urban places and define the nature, extent, and location of future growth and development. The City of DeWitt is located on a layer of what geologists call Niagara Limestone, or dolomite, formed about 390 million years ago during the Silurian period. At that time, Iowa and most of the present plains states were areas of tropical seas. Sedimentary materials were deposited, and the shallow seas regressed leaving this layer. The seas advanced and retreated several times, each time leaving a layer of sediment that was compressed into a rock formation.

In the DeWitt area, all of the layers above the Niagara series have been eroded away, leaving limestone directly below the soil. This layer of rock is about 220 feet thick, with an older layer of Maquoketa Shale beneath. The importance of this limestone layer is that it is a major aquifer, or water-bearing rock layer, of the East Central Iowa area. Some communities in the area obtain their water supply from this rock stratum which dips to the southwest at about 7 degrees, then reappears at lesser depths in the southwest corner of Iowa. The same limestone aquifer is used as a water supply there at greater depths. Geologists have determined that water travels through the aquifer from eastern Iowa to southwest Iowa in about ten years. Therefore, the quality of used water returned to the aquifer in the eastern part of the state is especially significant, because it is used again by residents to the southwest. The City of DeWitt uses the Jordan Aquifer for its source of fresh water. The water for the City of DeWitt is pumped from depths of 1,200 to 1,400 feet to the surface. The Jordan Aquifer is expected to continue to meet the City of DeWitt’s water needs in the future.

The DeWitt area was glaciated four times during the Pleistocene, most recently during the Wisconsin glacial period about 11,000 years ago. The glaciers left material composed of clay and loam and later fine windblown particles of clay called loess were deposited into the area. This material is known generally as glacial till, or specifically in this area, Iowa drift. This Iowa drift resulted in the extremely rich, deep and fertile soils found throughout the area and the relatively level landscape with few topographic constraints to development.

The City of DeWitt is located within the drainage basin of the Wapsipinicon River, which empties into the Mississippi River. The City of DeWitt is on the interfluve of and is drained by two small creeks, Ames Creek and Silver Creek. Both Ames Creek and Silver Creeks flow into the Wapsipinicon two and one-half miles to the south.

The elevation of the City of DeWitt varies from 670 to 750 feet above sea level, and the United States Geological Survey lists the official City elevation at 719 feet above sea level.

In a climate classification scheme used by agronomists and geographers, the City of DeWitt’s climate is reflective of the “cornbelt” (or “Dfa”) climate with an average winter temperature of 24 degrees Fahrenheit and a summer average of 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Annual precipitation is 35 inches, and the area receives about 28 inches of snow during the winter months. This type of climate is well suited to corn and small grain operation, which also makes it ideal for raising and fattening livestock. Thus, the City of DeWitt’s climate is the central reason for its agricultural and agribusiness development.

  1. Historical Development

The City of DeWitt was founded in the early 1830’s and was originally known as Vandenburg. Later, the community was renamed DeWitt, after DeWitt Clinton, a popular governor of New York State during the 1820’s. Between 1841 and 1869, DeWitt served as the county seat for Clinton County. The county seat was then transferred to Clinton, a rapidly growing rail and industrial center at that time.

The City of DeWitt has experienced steady growth at a fluctuating rate since 1900. This is largely due to agricultural expansion and development in the surrounding area and to its geographic situation. It is the second largest city in Clinton County, next in size to Clinton, which is located along the Mississippi River. Due to its central location within the county, DeWitt serves the western third of the county with goods and services and is an active agri-business center, as well as a small industry-oriented community.

John Bloom, a famous artist, was born in DeWitt in 1906. John Bloom would become one of the great American artists of the Regionalist movement. His art depicted rural settings and agricultural life. Many of his works were inspired by his life experiences within DeWitt. Several of his works of art are exhibited throughout DeWitt in public places, offices, and churches. The idealized small-town life that is portrayed in his art is reflective of the character of the City of DeWitt itself. John Bloom remained a popular artist until his death in 2002.

From 1970-1980, De Witt’s population increased by 24%. This period of high growth was followed by a period of negligible increase between 1980 and 1990, due in large part to the most severe agricultural recession affecting the State of Iowa in recent years. DeWitt was also affected by the closing of the Caterpillar plant in north Davenport. Housing development and subdivision activity all but stopped for the period of 1984-1990, with an average production of 12 new dwelling units per year. There was one five year period with less than 10 new dwelling units per year. Population data over time is summarized in the following figures.

Population Data Over Time
























Clinton County








DeWitt has a favorable location both statewide and nationwide. It is located centrally with reference to the three industrial and manufacturing centers of Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport-Quad Cities, the farthest of these being about 60 miles away. The community is also near major regional and national market places. Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Omaha are only a few hours away by auto and Kansas City is within a day’s drive.

DeWitt is at the crossroads of two important national highways. The first is US Route 30 which runs from Portland, Oregon to Atlantic City, New Jersey. The second is US Route 61, which bisects the country in a north-south direction from Duluth, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana.

In addition to these major automobile and truck routes, the City of DeWitt is also located along an important railroad line. The Union Pacific Railroad is the largest railroad in the United States and is a major hauler of goods throughout the upper Midwest and connects DeWitt with the major rail center of Chicago and Omaha.

The City of DeWitt’s location and transportation facilities have played a significant role in the community’s past development and will be increasingly important determinants in the City’s physical and economic growth in the future.

  1. Planning History

Comprehensive planning has a long history in the City of DeWitt. The first comprehensive plan was adopted in 1964. In 1976, the City of DeWitt completed a major update of the previous comprehensive plan. This was followed by the DeWitt Comprehensive Community Builder Program of 1991. An additional comprehensive plan update was completed in 1996 as part of a city effort to update and enhance the municipal sewer system.

The current plan is meant to continue the planning legacy of the City of DeWitt. A new comprehensive plan is necessary to ensure that there is a current document with updated information guiding development. The current plan attempts to build on the City of DeWitt’s history as a small Midwestern town with strong agricultural and industrial roots.

  1. Public Participation

Public participation is critically important for every comprehensive plan. Comprehensive plans provide the goals and methods for achieving objectives for the entire community. Since the entire community is affected by the policies in the comprehensive plan, no comprehensive plan is truly complete without some form of public participation in the planning process.

  1. Process

The City of DeWitt carried out a public participation process over the course of several weeks during the summer of 2014. The City of DeWitt advertised the process through a variety of methods, including but not limited to press releases, newspaper advertisements, mass emails, Facebook posts, and postings at City Hall. A variety of methods were used in an attempt to contact a diverse and large portion of residents and property owners. The first advertisements were published on May 30th, 2014.

The public participation process was carried out in two major steps. First, residents were invited to submit their responses to a series of published questions. The responses could be emailed or mailed to City Hall. The due date for submissions was June 18th, 2014. Following the due date, the responses were examined, compiled, and combined, as necessary, by the City of DeWitt. The series of questions that the public responded to are shown below:

  1. What should be done to improve the City of DeWitt’s economy?

  2. How should the City of DeWitt improve its culture, recreation, and the arts for its residents?

  3. What should be done to improve housing in the City of DeWitt?

  4. What should be done to improve transportation within the City of DeWitt?

  5. How should the City of DeWitt’s community and public facilities be improved or expanded?

  6. What should be done to make the City of DeWitt a better place to live?

The second part of the public participation process was a public vote. This took place from noon to 7:00pm on June 30th, 2014. At this vote, the submitted public ideas were put on display by the City of DeWitt for the public to see. All people who attended were able to vote for the ideas that they thought best addressed each of the given questions. In this way, the public participated in idea generation and prioritization in the planning process.

The results of the vote were shown to the DeWitt City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission during a joint meeting on July 14th, 2014. This meeting determined how the results should best be incorporated into the new comprehensive plan.

  1. Results

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