The lingering, contentious issue regarding parking and traffic congestion and flow on Webster Street was resolved with aplomb at the Aug. 28th meeting of the Cherokee City Council.
Carried over with no resolution from past years and previous meetings, the issue had become a hot button for many residents on Webster and Magnetic Streets, with heavy daily traffic from the Early Childhood Learning Center and Bright Beginnings Day Care facility housed in the former Webster School building on North Roosevelt Street only compounding the issue. Webster Street being just 20-foot wide also added to the problem.
Concerned residents Tuesday night presented a variety of complaints and cures for the problem, from no parking at all, to one-way traffic in one or the other directions, to parking on both sides, to parking on just one of the sides, to parking in their yards.
The Council had reviewed the situation in April 2005 regarding parking on Webster Street between Magnetic and Sumner Streets. At that time, an ordinance was adopted to eliminate parking on Webster Street for safety reasons. However, after further discussion, in May 2005 the Council voted to rescind the ordinance, but a new ordinance to correct the action was not adopted, therefore keeping the ordinance prohibiting parking there in effect.
At its August 12 meeting this year, the Council approved abiding by the existing ordinance prohibiting parking on Webster Street from Magnetic to Sumner, and the city installed several no parking signs.
Tuesday night, the Council heard from a half-dozen both pro and con residents affected by the situation, with the Council ultimately realizing that enforcing no parking on Webster would only move the problem to Magnetic and Sumner and not resolve the traffic congestion and flow issues.
After lengthy discussion and input from the residents involved and City Street Department chief Jim Agnitsch, the Council approved first reading of a new ordinance that would allow parking on the west side of Webster Street, and call for the city to paint the curb approaches yellow (no parking) at the southwest corner of Webster and Magnetic. The 4-1 vote had Council member Mick Mallory voting "no."
A second ordinance is forthcoming that calls for a stop sign to be installed on Webster Street at the southwest corner of Webster and Magnetic.
This action appeared to appease the residents as they filed out of the meeting with their guns holstered.
In other action, the Council approved the contract for purchase of a new skid loader for the Parks Department, and authorized a $10,500 down payment. The $30,164 Bobcat was purchased from Builders Sharpening in Cherokee and will be paid for out of the Street Department's budget. The $19,664 balance is to be paid off over five years.
The Council also heard from John Meis of Professional Survey Services, approving his company's plans and specs for an engineer's estimated $83,134 storm sewer project on East Bluff Street. Bids will be let through September 8 and the Council will act on them at its regular meeting September 9. PSS is based in Le Mars and has an office in Cherokee.
The problem has plagued the city and certain East Blluff Street residents in the past when sizable rainfall backs up the storm sewer. The plans call for a 36-inch line to replace the current 30-inch line under the street, said Meis.
The troublesome and damaged South Fourth Street decorative node northeast of Central Bank that has become a frequent target of vehicle tires running over the curbing will be cut back by the city in the near future, the Council decided Tuesday night. Agnitsch will meet with engineers involved to determine the best way to remove portions of the node that make traffic turning south onto Fourth Street from West Main Street difficult.
The Council also approved a one-year extension request on the construction deadline for a proposed developer on the Doherty Addition lots. It's the second one-year extension granted the developer, a situation Council member Mallory took issue with before casting the lone "no" vote on the 4-1 approval.
In closing action, Council member Greg Steineke told the Council that he has received complaints from citizens regarding the non-functioning lighting on the city's one-million gallon water at the U.S. Highway 59 and Iowa Highway 3 intersection.
"We've paid a lot of money to get the thing painted and for improved lighting, and people want to know why the lights aren't on. Let's get the lights on at night," implored Steineke.
City Water Department head Mark Napier told the Council he has been too busy to climb the tower to investigate the situation. He said he would contact Mid America Energy and try to get the problem solved.
"Mid America's schedule determines when that job will be done," said Napier.