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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Council OKs $350,000 Bond for City Park improvements

Monday, October 1, 2012

$250,000 targets new Parks maintenance facility

Cherokee's City Council last week approved a series of Resolutions, including one calling for the issuance of a General Obligation Bond not to exceed $350,000 in Capitol Loan Notes for proposed Parks Department projects.

An estimated $250,000 is earmarked for a new maintenance facility for the Cherokee Parks Department, with the remainder targeting Koser Spring Lake Park improvements, including resurfacing of the hiking/biking trail around Spring Lake, new playground equipment, and a proposed outdoor shelter to replace the old one that was dismantled and sold for salvage to make room for the new Yacht Club.

After several weeks of exploration and dismissed proposals, the Cherokee City Council at its Sept. 25 meeting 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 City Council meeting Sept. 11, 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, allow proper accesss, 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 and a Public Hearing was held last week on the matter.

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. The City will utilize that tract and what can be salvaged from other outbuildings there to house the new maintenance building.

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, the adjacent City Airport flight patterns, 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 Sept. 11, with Council member Mick Mallory voting no, and Council members Chad Brown, Wayne Pingel, Jim Peck, and Dan Morrow voting yes. Mallory said he preferred the Maintenance Building to remain in the Park.

At last week's meeting, Morrow raised some confusion when he said he thought the Council's Sept. 11 approval of the new site was just for the G.O. Bond measure and not for the official selection of the South 4th Street site, even though he voted yes on the motion describing such facts. Morrow also joined with Pingel to recommend a $250,000 G.O. Bond, and not $350,000, with the balance to be raised through the budgeting process in future years and delaying such things as the trail resurfacing, playground equipment, and outdoor shelter.

The City's portion of the new Yacht Club facility paid for through a community fund drive that raised $400,000, totals $40,000 for related utilities, sidewalk, and parking projects, which will come out of the new $350,000 G.O. Bond.

Morrow was reassured by Brown, Mallory, and City Clerk Deb Taylor, who referred to the minutes of that prior meeting, that he had indeed voted for the site selection and the Bond issue not to exceed $350,000.

On the final motion to approve the $350,000 G.O. Bond, Morrow and Pingel voted no, and Brown, Mallory, and Jim Peck voted for it.

In other action, the Council approved a $7,100 contract with Lundell Construction for site preparation for the new Yacht Club in Koser Spring Lake Park.

The Council also approved a rezoning for a house at 790 N. 1st St. from R-1 single and two-family status to an R-2 zone for multiple family residential district.

The Cherokee Regional Medical Center has purchased the house and proposes to convert the residential structure into hospital offices. An R-2 zone specifically provides hospital and medical facilities as a permitted use. There were no objections at the Public Hearing last week and the Council waived the second and third readings of the measure to expedite the CRMC project as part of a large expansion currently under way.

The Council also approved first readings of two other Resolutions, including one amending provisions pertaining to Principal Uses in R-1 and R-2 Districts, and one amending provisions related to removal of snow and ice accumulations downtown.

Since the City added the nodes in the downtown beautification project several years ago, street crews have had the challenge of cleaning snow and ice without catching the blades on curbing. Other cities facing similar problems require businesses in the downtown to clear snow and ice from their sidewalks and the area 18 inches beyond the curb so the snowplow operator does not have to rub against the curb and damaging it.

The amended ordinance now stipulates that requirement for Cherokee.

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