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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

City OKs Budget Hearing, Yacht Club fund-raiser

Friday, March 2, 2012

Members of the Koser Spring Lake Park Yacht Club Committee working on the design stage for the proposed new Park building include, left to right, Chad Brown, Kay O'Connor, Jim Haselhoff, Dave Lucas. Photo contributed
Citizen group planning, designing proposed new Park

The Cherokee City Council Tuesday night set the date for the Public Hearing for the proposed 2012-2013 Fiscal Year Budget, and authorized the Koser Spring Lake Park Yacht Club Committee to proceed with fund-raising for a proposed new Yacht Club to be constructed in the Park on the current large outdoor picnic shelter site on the northwest side of the lake.

The Council set Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. for the Public Hearing for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Municipal Budget. The proposed FY Budget will again total approximately $11 million and this year carry a property tax levy of $17.95 per $1,000 valuation, as compared to $17.44 last year. The proposed new budget also includes an estimated $100,000 cash reserve.

Regarding the Koser Spring Lake Park Committee, the volunteer citizen group is not exploring a proposed new Maintenance Shop facility in the Park, and considers it the City's responsibility to design and fund that project.

Both the existing Yacht Club and Park Mainenance sheds have outlived their time and have been deemed unsafe, aged, moldy and flood-damaged, and are located in the flood plain, which prompted the decision to relocate them elsewhere in the Park.

The area formerly housing the bird pen facility is being considered for an outdoor shelter (open picnic area with roof), and there is support to establish another outdoor shelter on the east side of the lake.

Tuesday night, the committee presented preliminary design plans to show the Council it's building concepts, while maintaining that future fund-raising monies will determine the exact size, design and amenities to be involved with the project.

The committee has been meeting weekly and has formed separate committees within - one for facility design, and one for fund-raising.

This past summer, the Cherokee City Council voted unanimously to move forward with plans to issue an estimated $500,000 General Obligation Bond to finance a new Yacht Club and Maintenance Building in Koser Spring Lake Park.

However, the Council later decided against the projects due to what it considered exorbitant architectural fees and total project costs, and returned to square one, seeking further public input.

The volunteer committee formed to study the entire proposal is a result of the renewed effort and has been embraced by the City and the Council.

Among fund-raising options being considered by the committee is selling bricks to identify contributors.

The committee members include Mark Hecox, Steve Thomas, Jim Haselhoff, Cindy Wilberding, Kay O'Connor, Linda Burkhart, Sheree Hausmann, Council member Chad Brown, Jamie Roof, and Dave Lucas. Hausmann and Hecox are Co-Chairs of the committee.

In other business, the Council approved a resolution to recognize the West Central Regional Housing Trust Fund.

That Trust Fund is a four-county organization consisting of Cherokee, Plymouth, Ida, and Monona counties, with its primary focus on housing rehabilitation that could also evolve into new housing projects for low and moderate income.

Also on Tuesday, the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors approved the same resolution, with the participating counties paying the local share for their municipalities.

Once functioning, the Trust Fund receives monies from the State Lottery proceeds. The existing Northwest Regional Housing Trust Fund that services Buena Vista, Emmet, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, and Sioux counties receives approximately $200,000 annually from the Iowa Lottery proceeds to support their housing rehabilitation program.

The Council also tabled any action on installing a self-actuated pool lift for the handicapped that would lift wheelchair-bound persons into the pool at the Bacon Aquatics Center. Heightened requirements through the American Disabilities Act (ADA) call for public pools to have such a lift for the handicapped. It was noted that the Bacon Aquatic Center and its zero entry pool was in ADA compliance and met all existing requirements when the facility was built in 2007.

The Council last year budgeted $5,000 for a lift and agreed Tuesday night to keep that total budgeted from year to year in case installation of such a lift is made mandatory in the future.

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