Following lengthy discussion after several weeks of exploration and dismissed proposals, the Cherokee City Council last week approved a new site for the Parks Maintenance Building and approved a resolution calling for the City to issue a General Obligation Bond not to exceed $350,000 to pay for that facility and other Parks expenditures.
In a workshop preceding the last City Council meeting two weeks ago, the Council gave tentative approval to locate a proposed new Parks Maintenance Building across the street from the Fire Station at 300 W. Elm St. But the City later decided that the 100x100 lot was not large enough to house the Maintenance facility and all the Parks equipment and vehicles.
At that time, the Council discussed 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 until last week.
The approved site is on the west side of South 4th Street and contains the former Schoon Building that the City owns and utilized as cold storage for extraneous equipment and materials.
A Public Hearing on the proposition to authorize the $350,000 loan agreement and issuance of notes to evidence the City's obligations is now set for the next City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 in Council Chambers.
Originally, the plan was to construct a new Parks Maintenance facility in Koser Spring Lake Park. However, after several people pointed out the downsides of locating such a facility in the Park, including child safety issues, aesthetics, hazards of extra equipment stored outside, and a recommendation by the Cherokee Yacht Club Committee, the Council chose the former Schoon site on land already owned by the City.
The site was approved on a 4-1 vote last week, with Council member Mick Mallory voting no, and Council members Chad Brown, Wayne Pingel, Jim Peck, and Dan Morrow voting yes. Mallory said he wanted the Maintenance Building to remain in the Park.
Before the vote, in a poll taken by Mayor Mark Murphy, who favored the Schoon site after more consideration, Brown, Pingel, Peck, and Morrow agreed with the Mayor's choice of location.
According to City Administrator Don Eikmeier, the City's existing bond debt will be paid down in the next two years, so the new G.O. Bond would not increase any property owners' tax rates.
In other business last week, the Council approved a Special Use Permit for Rick and Michelle Law to renovate a vacant building at 207 S. 5th St. into indoor rental storage units.
The Laws plan to construct 18 rental storage units ranging in size from 8X10 feet, to 5X8 feet. They also are considering installing a row of rental lockers in the facility.
The building is located in a C-1 (Commercial) Zoning District and storage or warehouse uses in such a zone require a Special Use Permit.
The Council also accepted a bid of $8,750 from C& K Construction of Cherokee for the new Oak Hill Cenetery Directory structure. The C&K bid was the only one received and is for labor only.
The Oak Hill Cemetery Directory Committee has raised an estimated $30,000 for the project, which included the City's portion of $3,500 for site preparation and the concrete pad, with the balance targeting materials, signage and wall map being completed by R.J. Thomas Manufacturing and Pilot Rock Signs.
The Thomas family donated $10,000 to the project.
In other action, the Council approved the purchase of a new sander for the Street Department to replace the old one that is rusting out and aged. The $9,495 expenditure was included in the Department's current budget.