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Cherokee City Council eyes $550,000 G.O. Bond for Park facilities

Monday, August 15, 2011

Public Hearing set for August 23

The Cherokee City Council and City Administrator Don Eikmeier are proceeding with plans that would cost an estimated $450,000 to replace aging and flood-damaged buildings in Koser Spring Lake Park.

If it comes to fruition, the project would be funded by a General Obligation Bond. According to Eikmeier, the City was able to fund the current West Cherry and North 11th Street projects due to the retiring municipal debt load without having to increase the City's debt levy. Eikmeier said the same strategy should be used for the Koser Spring Lake Park projects as the retirement of the City's old debt continues over the next three fiscal years.

The Council consensus is to hold a Public Hearing on the matter and, pending that outcome, proceed with financing, plans and specifications, and bidding so construction can be completed by Spring or early Summer 2012.

The Public Hearing dates of August 23 for public input, physical plans and a timetable; and September 13 for financing the project, were set at last week's Council meeting. The G.O. Bond Capital Loan Notes would not exceed $550,000, which is "on the very high side and probably would be reduced" before being issued, said Eikmeier.

Am ad hoc study committee of Eikmeier, Mayor Mark Murphy, and Council members Dan Morrow and Mick Mallory met in early August with City Parks Superintendent Duane Mummert to review Mummert's plans for replacement of the Yacht Club and the Park Maintenance Shop and Garage that were damaged by the 2010 flooding in Cherokee.

The Council had previously inspected the flood-damaged buildings and concluded that the Yacht Club and Maintenance Shop and Garage be replaced with similar structures, but relocated in the Park to eliminate or at least minimize the potential of future flooding.

According to Mummert's plans reviewed by the City, the new Yacht Club would be a 40X40 structure with a 14X36 screened patio located on the site of the existing main picnic shelter on the west side of the lake. Based on preliminary estimates, that building would cost $300,000.

The proposed Maintenance building would be a 40X60 structure with three overhead doors, with additional storage space built overhead above the office and restroom area. The site recommended for the building is the east side of the lake southwest of the existing well building. Estimated cost for this structure is $140,000.

According to Eikmeier, FEMA dollars for flood damages to the facilities ended up being just a fraction of the replacement costs, despite his negotiations and pleas with FEMA. Factoring in to the scant settlement was the fact the City had not carried flood insurance for the buildings in question. Total FEMA and State payments for the Yacht Club were $14,570.90; and $10,824.93 for the Maintenance buildings.

Morrow asked the Council to also include a sidewalk/pedestrian trail south from the U.S. Highway 59 Spring Lake Park entrance to Sequoia Drive and preferably a commercial sidewalk strip south to Danny's Sports Spot.

In other action, the Council approved retaining the existing voter ward boundaries after considering revising them, and discussed completing proposed trail improvements in Gillette Park to North 9th Street.

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