Improvements to the Merle Hay Road Gateway area have been highly anticipated by many Johnston residents. In order to make the area more attractive for development the wooded area east of Merle Hay and adjacent to Beaver Creek could be selectively thinned and groomed to open up visibility from the Interstate.  Before such work can proceed additional environmental assessments will be needed with respect to the wetlands and habitat.

At their meeting on May 18th the Johnston City Council authorized an environmental assessment including a wetland delineation study and an acoustic bat survey to determine if protected bats are inhabiting the area.  An agreement for professional services with Foth Infrastructure and Environment for the assessment work was approved.

The City of Johnston is communicating with various regulatory agencies about potential improvements to the greenbelt area between the redevelopment sites and I-35/80. Discussions have been held with the US Army Corp of Engineers, Iowa DOT, US Fish and Wildlife, and the Iowa DNR, and the study results will be shared with them. A survey of all trees over 6 inches in diameter in the area has already been completed.

For more information about this study follow the link below.