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Cherokee Yacht Club bids higher than anticipated

Friday, August 31, 2012

City eyes West Elm site for new Parks Maintenance Bldg.

The Cherokee City Council Tuesday night approved a bid of $335,275 from Haselhoff Construction of Cherokee for the proposed new Yacht Club facility to be built in Koser Spring Lake Park, and identified the site for a new Parks Maintenance Building.

Both existing facilities are aged, dilapidated, flood-damaged and located in narrow confines within the flood plain.

According to Cherokee Yacht Club Committee members who have been conducting a fundraiser to pay for that new building, work is expected to begin yet this fall, with completion in early spring.

An estimated $375,000 in fundraising by the Cherokee Yacht Club Committee will pay for the construction of the Yacht Club building and other related Park amenities, and the City will be responsible for extending the utilities, parking and sidewalk improvements to the site, which are estimated to cost $40,000.

Included in the plan are building furnishings and equipment, a new open shelter on the lake's east side, and various other Park amenities, including proper landscaping, etc.

The new Yacht Club was originally estimated to cost $250,000, the new shelter about $25,000, and the remainder for landscaping, furnishings and other amenities for the Yacht Club, totaling $375,000.

However, the four bids received by the City were considerably higher than that, with Haselhoff's low bid of $335,275 being accepted for the building only. It is thought that area contractors are busy and have plenty of projects under way, which traditionally ratchets up the bids for such next-in-line construction projects.

Among enhancements of the new Yacht Club are a larger heated area more user friendly in the winter, large patio area to accommodate more people outside, more spacious and user-friendly kitchen, handicap accessible, large storage area, safer location so children do not have to cross the street to access the playground, and the new outdoor shelter.

As a result of the higher bids, the Yacht Club Committee is continuing its fundraising efforts through September and encourages all those who have yet to donate to such a worthy cause to please consider doing so. The goal now is to raise $400,000 to complete the project, according to Committee members.

The tax deductible donations can be made to "Cherokee Community Foundation-Spring Lake" and mailed or dropped off at City Hall at 416 W. Main St., Cherokee, Iowa 51012. For donations of $1,000 or more, donors names will be recognized on a permanent plaque or brick in the Park, and a Page 1 photo featured in the Chronicle Times.

City Administrator Don Eikmeier reported to the Council that if costs can possibly be shaved off the final bid in the coming weeks, that process can be completed through change orders agreed to by the contractor and buyer.

In a workshop preceding the regular City Council meeting, the Council gave tentative approval to locate a proposed new Parks Maintenance Building across the street from the Fire Station at 300 West Elm Street.

The City must issue a General Obligation Bond to cover that cost in the neighborhood of $250,000 and gave Eikmeier than consensus Tuesday night.

The Council discussed at length the possibility of bundling the Maintenance Building, renovation of the deteriorating Koser Spring Lake Park trail, new Park playground equipment, and the utility, parking and sidewalk improvements for the Yacht Club into a Bond at an estimated $350,000, but no final decision was made.

The City will now begin the exploration process to determine the size and timing of the G.O. Bond. The City will be retiring much of its existing Bond indebtedness in the next two years, according to Eikmeier.

In a related matter, the Council approved a bid from Schoon Construction of Cherokee for $9,824 for water, sewer and electrical connections to the new Yacht Club building site where the current large outdoor shelter is located on the northwest side of the lake. This is part of the City's estimated $40,000 commitment to the project.

In other business, the Council heard from resident Mike Moller of 925 W. Cherry St. that the new curbing installed as part of last year's West Cherry Street renovation project in front of his house is breaking up.

Moller also complained about an unsightly abandoned house and property on West Cherry Street that's full of weeds, attracting varmints, and is lessening property values in that neighborhood.

Eikmeier said the City will be soon contacting Moller to inspect the complaints and seek action.

The City is currently in the legal process of identifying and "obtaining ownership" through Iowa Code of such abandoned properties that number more than a dozen.

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