Interested property owners attended The Cherokee City Council meeting last week regarding a proposed first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit parking on a portion of the west side of Euclid Avenue and Union Street.
The City has fielded complaints about sight distance at the curved intersection when cars are parked on the west side.
Police Chief Steve Schuck and Street Superintendent Jim Agnitsch evaluated the situation and they and the City had proposed a no parking restriction on the west side of Euclid from its Fountain Street intersection continuing southwest 152 feet to a point on Union Street just south of 401 Euclid Ave. The ordinance proposal identified sight problems for northbound motorists on Union Street and southbound motorists on Euclid.
Euclid resident Jane Miller protested the ordinance, saying it would take her parking spot near her residence. Agnitsch and City Administrator Don Eikmeier ultimately concurred with Miller and will shorten the 152 lineal feet by an estimated 50 feet to allow for Miller to park in front of her residence.
The ordinance will be revisited at the next Council meeting May 25.
The Council also discussed at length a complaint from Kent and Kathy Schmillen of 820 N. 11th St. about excessive speed by motorists and dust problems off the gravel road adjacent to their home just north of the Cherokee Golf & Country Club.
Schmillen said some vehicles are speeding 60-70 mph on that gravel stretch and the dust clouds from the vehicles saturates the air in and around their home. "We eat a lot of dust," said Schmillen.
Schmillen asked the City to post speeding signs and city limit signs. "If you slow the traffic down, you slow the dust down," said Schmillen. He also asked about the City oiling and adding rock to the road.
The road itself is a complex issue, with portions jointly owned and maintained by the City and Cherokee County. Agnitsch informed the Council that the city limits end for outbound motorists at the first curve north of the Country Club, and that the incoming city limit signs are further north and west to the Catholic Cemetery.
The Council also discussed possibly entering into a sharing agreement with the County to pave the road and assessing property owners adjacent to the road. That matter has been bandied about for many years by both City and County, to no avail.
Eikmeier also told the Schmillens that he would spike more law enforcement there to help catch the speeders, consult with the Board of Supervisors, and would get back to the Council in 30 days with the City's evaluation.
The Council also heard a presentation from local residents interested in establishing a community garden in Cherokee. The site they recommend is north of the old Rhoadside Greenhouse site on East Main Street, which is now flood greenspace. The garden plot would be between East Main and East Willow, and Saratoga and North Roosevelt streets.
The group asked to establish two demonstration plots this year in anticipation of establishing a public community garden program in 2011. There are Master Gardeners among several other interested City residents endorsing such a program.
The demonstration plots would each be 10x20 feet and serve to demonstrate the variety and volume of food that can be grown on such plots. Residents participating in the program next year could "purchase" a 10x20 plot for their own garden for a nominal fee.
Resident Jennie Burroughs spoke of the immense educational value such an enterprise would be for youths, teaching them hands-on land stewardship, nutritional values, social skills, physical fitness, and, above all, serve as a connection of generations that perhaps doesn't readily exist in today's world. The gardens also would synergize greatly with the Cherokee Farmers Market at the restored historic Railroad Depot, said Burroughs.
Jim Adamson, mellow Cherokee promoter extraordinaire, told the Council a steering committee will be formed and proper strategies spelled out as the project moves forward. "We'll form a Board of Directors of knowledgable gardening people, establish policies and monitor the progress of the program," said Adamson.
The Council embraced the project and approved developing the two demonstration plots on the City-owned land.
The local group plans to pattern the operation after the Carroll Community Gardens in existence for several years and a prosperous, thriving enterprise.
In other action, the Council authorized awarding engineering and inspection services for the Birch Street bridge project to local PSS Inc. in an amount not to exceed $7,500.
The Council faced a conundrum in the fact that to seek proposals from engineering firms on the Iowa Department of Transportation's qualified list would add $17,066 to the total project cost of$124,000. However, using local PSS Inc., which is not on the IDOT list, would cost $7,500 and cost an extra $2,132 local share. That equates to the total project costs of $131,483 versus $148,549 based on IDOT's required engineering costs.
The Council also approved purchase after trade-in of two John Deere mowers - one for the Parks Department ($5200), and one for the Water Department ($1679)- from Builders Sharpening & Service of Cherokee.
The Council set 7 p.m. May 25 as the date for a Public Hearing regarding a proposed 2009-10 budget amendment.
The Council also dropped a scheduled Public Hearing following a request to withdraw by Steve Ebert of Wilson TV an effort to purchase an undeveloped alleyway behind the Chronicle Times, and Carey's Restaurant and Christian Bookstore buildings.