Iowa City’s ‘Rummage in the Ramp’ raises more than $17,000

(City of Iowa City)
(City of Iowa City)

Nick Fetty | August 6, 2015

More than $17,000 was raised at this year’s ‘Rummage in the Ramp’ and that money will be split among the 36 local nonprofit organizations that helped with the event.

Rummage in the Ramp is an annual event organized by the City of Iowa City that gives an opportunity for area residents to either donate or purchase items at a garage sale-style market in the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp downtown. The 10-day event not only serves as a fundraiser for local nonprofits – several of which are University of Iowa student organizations – but it also diverts thousands of pounds of reusable or recyclable items from ending up in the landfill.

“It’s a college town so a lot of leases have changed over in the last week or week and a half. So the whole point is to keep the stuff out of the landfill when the lease change over, keep it off the curbs keep it from getting ruined and get it to homes that can use it,” Iowa City recycling coordinator Jen Jordan told KGAN.

This year’s event saw more than 100 couches, 50 tables, 50 mattresses and box springs, 75 boxes of books, a couple of upright pianos, an organ, and more. In total, 25 tons of items were donated, displayed, and sold. Approximately six tons of items remained unsold when the sale ended on Sunday and these leftovers were either recycled or donated to local agencies such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army.

Rummage in the Ramp has taken place each year since 2007. The 2015 event set a record for the number of participating nonprofits though raised slightly less money than the record $20,688 last year. Nearly 200 volunteers helped with the 2015 event and each of the 36 organizations received $457.

Iowa City switching to LED for streetlights

Near the corner of Burlington Street and Gilbert Street facing east. (Stephen Cummings/Flickr)
Near the corner of Burlington Street and Gilbert Street in Iowa City, looking east. (Stephen Cummings/Flickr)

Nick Fetty | July 9, 2015

The City of Iowa City has made an agreement with MidAmerican Energy to convert approximately 4,000 street and pedestrian lights into LED fixtures over the next four years.

The project will include 2,600 lights within city limits as well as an additional 1,400 lights owned and maintained by the city. LED, or light-emitting diode, fixtures can last 25 times longer and be 75 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs, according to data from the Department of Energy. LEDs also emit less heat and offer a brighter, whiter light compared traditional bulbs.

Funding for the project comes from more than $500,000 the city overpaid to MidAmerican Energy to power streetlights between 2004 and 2014. The money was reimbursed to the city last year and was earmarked for the LED project. The city has also budgeted an additional $50,000 for the project this year and has set aside $75,000 annually for the next four years.

This project is the latest of several sustainability initiatives the city has perused in recent years. Between 1999 and 2005 LED lighting was installed on traffic signals which cut electricity usage in half, according to the city’s website. Other environmentally sustainable initiatives include a wetland restoration project and efforts to capture methane gas at the landfill.

The 2014 Sustainability Report outlines several recent efforts including a climate adaptation study, a wastewater treatment facility expansion and upgrade, and a partnership with the the University of Iowa’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities. The report also lays out goals for 2015 including a local food initiative, a waste reduction project, and a bike share program.