Project Name Nashua
Landscape Architect Craig Ritland
City Nashua
County Chickasaw
Year 2015
TF Contact Meredith Borchardt
CV Contact Steve Gustafson

Nashua is situated along the Avenue of the Saints (US Highway 218) in Chickasaw County, just southeast of Charles City. Cedar Lake and the Cedar River dominate the landscape and are popular outdoor venues for residents and tourists. Two miles east of town are the Little Brown Church and the Old Bradford Pioneer Village and Museum.

Despite its small population of 1,663 residents, Nashua is a regional hub of recreational activity, hosting the annual Water Over the Dam Days and the Chickasaw County Big Four Fair. The town is home to the Nashua-Plainfield School District campus, which houses the elementary and high schools, along with the Husky Wellness Center.

Improvements to Nashua’s parks were the most highly ranked priority among steering committee members. Cedar View Park currently has campsites, a skate park, sand volleyball court, play equipment, and boating and swimming access to the lake. To even further diversify the recreational amenities in the park, the design team recommended a pool, splash pad, and bathhouse for swimmers and campers. Additional docks and swimming platforms would increase the opportunities to enjoy the water. Improved parking and pedestrian and vehicular circulation would make the park easier to navigate.

The city of Nashua seeks to capitalize on its many recreational opportunities to draw visitors to town and enhance residents’ quality of life. The concept plan addresses this concern by proposing that Veterans and Cannon Parks be converted to areas for condominiums, a marina, and a restaurant, making the lakefront more of an economic generator. Veterans Park would be rebuilt on Main Street.

In its application to the Community Visioning Program, the Nashua steering committee described Main Street as unattractive, with one of the “lowest occupancy rates in northeast Iowa.” The visioning concept plan for Main Street proposes street trees and bump-outs to green the street and provide shade in the walk to Veterans Park, which would be relocated to the lot next to the post office. Other Main Street beautification strategies include painting street poles black and installing hanging planters and banners unique to Nashua. The Nashua steering committee would also like to use existing concrete piers at the north end of Main Street to build pedestrian bridge to connect the downtown area with the proposed economic development areas.

Improved signage of a unified graphic identity throughout the community would help visitors discover Nashua’s many attractions. The proposed way-finding palette addresses pedestrian and vehicular scales, and it is consistent with existing street signs and Nashua-Plainfield High School colors. A new sign at the Welcome Center with vegetation, as well as new plantings around the two existing welcome signs, reflect positively on the town.

The safe and accessible walking routes were another top priority addressed in the concept plan for Nashua. At heavily used intersections, particularly those on common walking routes to schools, safety enhancements such as crosswalks, flashing lights, and center-line yield signs are recommended. Additionally, a scenic trail route creates a safe route for cyclists and pedestrians to destinations such as the Little Brown Church and the Old Bradford Pioneer Village.

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