Several downtown merchants were present at last week's Cherokee City Council meeting to discuss the proposed revision to the ordinance regarding snow, ice and accumulations downtown.
The Council had passed two readings of an ordinance that would require all snow on Main Street from 1st to 6th streets be placed not less than 18" into the street to help eliminate damage to the new curbs by the snow plow blades.
Mick Samsel of Creative Services was on the committee when the streetscape and nodes were designed, and said he realizes the challenge with snow removal. He passed around photos showing that when the project was first completed, marking poles were installed in the nodes to show where the curb line was. He feels these markers should be reinstalled and offered to donate reflective tape for the poles.
Steve Ebert of Wilson TV said he has one of the largest store fronts on Main Street, and that he sees other issues with the proposed ordinance. He asked, "If the snow is moved 18" from the curb and cars pull over the snow to park, who is responsible to get the car out if it gets stuck?" Ebert said if cars park in front of the 18" they will project into the street. Among his other queries were, "When will citations be issued?", "Will everyone be treated the same?" and "Why can't the plows slow down and take more time around the nodes?"
Tom Letsche of Letsche's Bike Shop/Radio Shack said he hasn't read the ordinance, but said the City doesn't enforce people not shoveling their sidewalks now, so how can they enforce shoveling the street? He also questioned how people would get through the 18". Letsche said would like the City to encourage people to shovel their sidewalks. He said several businesses barely shovel, if at all. He advised the City to step back and re-examine the issue.
City Administrator Don Eikmeier interjected that the proposed revised ordinance is modeled after Spencer's, and they have done this successfully for several years. He reported that this issue was brought to the Chamber of Commerce Board for input several weeks before being presented to the Council, and there was no feedback at that time. He also said the City can continue to repair curbs every summer.
Don Bright of Brightside Lounge pointed out Spencer has parallel parking, so that trying to park over or around 18" may not be such an issue as it is with angle parking.
Eikmeier said that if this isn't the right solution for the merchants, the City would look at other options. The firm that clears snow from the sidewalks at the nodes could also push the snow back 18" from those curbs, reasoned Eikmeier.
Mayor Mark Murphy also likes the idea of placing marker poles in the nodes.
After the discussion, the Council approved making no changes to the existing ordinance regarding snow, ice and accumulations downtown.
In other action, the Council approved the first presentation of an ordinance amending provisions pertaining to Violations of Regulations - electronic communication devices. The ordinance is in accordance with State Law passed last year that prohibits the use of electronic devices by youths with restricted driving permits, an instruction or intermediate license, or a school permit.
The council then waived the second and third readings of Ordinance No. 580, an ordinance amending provisions pertaining to Violations of Regulations - electronic communication devices, and ordered its publication.
The Council also reviewed the materials list for the new Parks maintenance building to be built on the west side of South 4th Street and attached to the former Schoon Building site now owned by the City and previously used for cold storage of miscellaneous City equipment. The City will be the general contractor on the project and will bid the materials, labor, footings/concrete, electrical, and heating/plumbing.
Marcus Lumber is preparing CAD drawings for the 50' x 50' wood h-frame building with steel exterior roof and walls. The drawings will be provided to interested bidders. Council member Chad Brown said he would prefer to see the drawings before proceeding to bid.
Eikmeier said they went through the process of using an architect, but the Council decided it didn't want to go that route because of the additional and exorbitant costs involved. Council member Mick Mallory said that if Parks Superintendent Duane Mummert went through the details with Marcus Lumber, that should be sufficient. The Council then approved a motion authorizing soliciting bids for the materials.
A second motion also was approved authorizing soliciting bids for labor to construct the maintenance building, and a motion to solicit bids for the concrete work involved was also approved.
In further business, Eikmeier and Council member Dan Morrow visited with Larry Walker regarding the recently purchased railroad right-of-way. Walker owns the property surrounding the former CN Railroad right-of-way north of Iowa Hwy.3 and 515th St. Rather than having a future hiking/biking trail go through the existing quarry, Walker proposes acquiring this property from the City in exchange for the City having an option to acquire a 15' strip of land surrounding the Walker property at a future time for the construction of a trail.
The Council then approved a motion that authorized City Attorney Wally Miller Jr. to work with Walker's attorney in preparing the necessary paperwork.