The area between the sidewalk and the street is called the City right-of-way and is public property. It may also be referred to as the parking or the tree lawn. While the area serves many purposes, it is principally used as a space for underground or overhead utilities. Trees may be planted there, but care must be taken to understand and follow sound planting practices. Inappropriate plant species or an improper planting location can create slight obstructions for pedestrians and motorists, or interfere with overhead or underground utilities.
For these reasons and others, persons wishing to plant in the right-of-way should contact the City Forester at the Parks and Recreation office for a tree planting permit at 319-356-5100 before they purchase or plant.
Street tree planting program
The Forestry Division has planted hundreds of trees in the right-of-way over the years. If you would rather have Forestry look into planting a tree in front of your residence, they would be glad to do so. There will be no charge for the service, but you may have to be patient, as the budget is limited and many citizens contact us every year for this service. You will be placed on the planting list and a Forestry staff person will contact you about your request. Always remember that not every location is appropriate for a tree, and every aspect of promoting the health of a tree at any given location will be considered before planting.
It is unfortunate, but always possible, if a tree is planted close to underground utilities, they may have to be removed in order to repair or replace a utility service. Of course, this is only done as a last resort, but it is a possibility, if only a remote one.