Two sets of tables and benches along with a pet waste receptacle are now available for roadside stoppers and trail goers at the I-80 exit 164 interchange. Located on the east side of Highway 14 on the hike and bike trail, the new amenities were provided by efforts from the Newton Hometown Pride Committee and the city of Newton.
Hometown Pride led the charge by applying for a grant in March from the Iowa Grocery Industry Associates for picnic facilities in the area. The committee felt with the walking trail and public art installation in the area and its frequent use by travelers stopping from Interstate 80, a small picnic area would be an appropriate welcoming feature.
Two thousand dollars was awarded by Build with Bags from the IGIA for the Newton Parks and City Grounds staff to purchase two hexagon tables, two fix foot benches and one trash can receptacle. The city provided an additional $2,000 to install concrete pads for the new items.
“Items were purchased from Plastic Recycling of Iowa Fall, Inc.,” Newton Park Operations Superintendent Nick Cummins said. “They produce furniture and playground equipment made from recycled plastic bags and newspaper sleeves.”
Build with Bags is a cause whose primary goal is to tackle the environmental concern that has been receiving a great deal of the attention, the use of plastic shopping bags. To address the issues, the program aims to reduce the consumption of plastic bags, encourage the use of reusable bags, increase the amount of plastic bags recycled and establish a grant program to aid parks and schools to purchase products made from recycled plastic bags.
Scott Pearson, director of the Newton Hy-Vee, also sent a letter of encouragement for Newton’s efforts to utilize the program.
“As an IGIA member we are well aware of the issues associated with plastic grocery store bags,” Pearson said. “We believe the way to resolve this issues is to ‘close the recycling loop’ and encourage the purchase of products made from recycled plastic grocery store bags.”
The committee also hopes with the installation of the equipment made from recycled grocery bags, community members would continue and even increase efforts to recycle in Newton.
To complement the project, Friends of Newton Parks has also donated a pet waste station to be installed at the start of the hike and bike trail. Cummins said this area is popular for people to walk their pets and the area is used frequently by those traveling on Interstate 80.
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org