The Cherokee City Council last week finalized and approved a resolution directing City acceptance of the proposal to purchase $350,000 in General Obligation Capital Loan Notes for various Koser Spring Lake Park improvements.
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.
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.
The Council was reassured by G.O. Bond purchaser Ruan Securities of Des Moines that interest rates currently are very favorable for municipalities and are locked in at under 2-percent for the 10-year Capital Loan, varying from .85-percent to 1.95-percent over the 10-year Loan agreement.
In other business, the Council tabled the second reading of an ordinance amending provisions regarding the removal of snow, ice, and accumulations downtown. The City is considering amending the ordinance to require Main Street store front owners to remove snow a distance of 18 inches away from the curb line.
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.
With the ordinance just geographically defined for Main Street from 1st to 6th Streets, Council member Mick Mallory asked why, in a spirit of fairness, it didn't include storefront businesses on Maple and Willow Streets, too, as they are considered part of the downtown area.
After some discussion, Mayor Mark Murphy recommended the issue be tabled, the matter explored further, and a new ordinance be crafted. The Council unanimously agreed.
The Council also approved a contract for storm sewer improvements on North 11th and Hill Streets to Schoon Construction in the amount of $14,654. The City acknowledges that faulty design work by North 11th Street renovation project engineers Dewild Grant Reckert of Sioux City have created the storm sewer problems experienced there.
Accompanying the approval of the contract to remedy the problem was a motion unanimously approved for City Attorney Wally Miller Jr. to seek payment for the work from Dewild Grant Reckert.
The Council also approved a $68,107 contract to Schoon Construction for long-awaited storm sewer improvements on Rock Island Avenue.
For many years, undersized storm sewer inlets along the street have been ineffective properly draining the area. New "highway" inlets will be installed to effectively drain the area. This project is funded through the City's storm water fees collected with each utility bill.
The Council also approved two contracts to Mummert Construction for the removal of railroad crossings and related street improvements on East Spruce Street ($17,400) and on Gillease Street ($25,515).
The rail crossings are the abandoned portion of the CN rail line. The City has been paid by CN for the cost they would have incurred in their removing the crossing and the monies are deposited in the Street Improvements Fund.
In other business, the Council appointed Mike Moller of Cherokee to fill a vacancy on the City Planning and Zoning Commission.
The City also is in the process of applying for a $170,000 Vision Iowa CAT Grant for additional improvements in Koser Spring Lake Park, including dredging the lake, and building a second outdoor shelter and playground on