West Union Iowa Green Streets

Pilot Project

Overview | Construction Update | Project Statistics | New Projects in West Union | Cost Analysis | Links


The West Union Iowa Green Streets Pilot Project is the most ambitious sustainable community-wide green streets demonstration project in the country.  The project serves as a catalyst to stimulate and revitalize the economy in West Union, attract and support local businesses and direct further investment to their historic downtown. Six downtown blocks in the Fayette County were completely renovated, seat with high-performance streets, sidewalks, utilities, and public amenities providing long-term durability and multiple benefits.  As a model for other communities across the country, this project showcases the integration of leading-edge sustainable design strategies, including complete streets-based improvements to encourage safe and comfortable pedestrian and cyclist passage and to improve the water quality of their nearby trout stream; Otter Creek.  Sustainable systems include permeable pavements, bioretention/rain garden features, curb extensions with rainwater planters, bioretention tree planters, energy-efficient lighting, and a district wide geothermal heating and cooling system that uses renewable, geothermal energy. Conservatively, this system is projected to save over $104 million in operation costs within the next 50 years. Locally-sourced materials were artfully crafted by local artisans to reinforce West Union's unique history and culture.  Metal and local stone extend the character of historic architectural character into seating, signage, and other embellishments to provide a beautiful, authentic setting for community use, attract new patrons to West Union businesses, and foster local job creation.


Construction was completed in 2013.


  Project Statistics:  
Area:  5 acres
Cost:  Approximately $10 million
Funding: The project was supported by the state economic development department and over $7.5 million of the approximately $10 million in capital costs were secured from various federal, state, regional, and local programs.

  • General Obligation Bonds: $176,319
  • Revenue Bonds: $692,180
  • U.S. Dept. of Energy: EECGB Grant: $837,500
  • State of Iowa: Main Street Challenge Grant: $440,000
  • State of Iowa: I-Jobs Grant: $1,175,000
  • State of Iowa: Watershed Improvement Fund: $500,000
  • Fayette County: $10,000
  • West Union Main Street Organization: $10,995
  • U.S. EPA: Climate Showcase Grant: $500,000
  • State of Iowa: IDNR I-Jobs: $100,000
  • State of Iowa: IDALS I-Jobs: $500,000
  • State of Iowa: CDBG: $1,000,000
  • State of Iowa: IDOT Rise: $2,327,034

Design Partners:
Conservation Design Forum

Landscape Architect

Elmhurst, Illinois

TeKippe Engineering

Civil Engineer

West Union, Iowa

IBC Engineering Services

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing

Waukesha, Wisconsin

Select Structural Engineering

Structural Engineer

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Brewer Engineering

Electrical Engineer

Ankeny, Iowa

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New Projects Inspired by West Union’s Green Streets Pilot Project:

  • A local business owner installed permeable pavers, a rain garden and a rain barrel in the back of his downtown property. While the project addressed some needed repairs to the property, it went above and beyond to incorporate a model of sustainable water management practices that eliminates roof runoff from his building. In addition to managing water sustainably, the project beautified the alley and created a user-friendly space for apartment dwellers above the business and employees.
  • West Union’s Chamber of Commerce has installed a new green roof on their building overlooking the town square.


Prior to design and construction, a cost analysis was completed for the porous unit paving system.  The analysis compared the cumulative cost of porous unit paving versus that of a traditional bituminous asphalt surface. Our analysis showed a payback period of approximately 15 years.



Iowa Green Streets Pilot Project PDF

City of West Union, Iowa

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Typical parkway rain garden section




Typical bumpout rain garden section 




Vine Street streetscape section




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