This week’s city council meeting started with a small cities grant discussion. The grant is federal funds from HUD, with the purpose to develop eligible communities by providing financial assistance for decent, safe, and affordable housing. It provides low to moderate income homeowners with a 75% grant to improve their housing conditions, in a lot of cases can help elderly people stay in their own homes, and it also can be used to help local businesses. The city could get $400,000-600,000 to do housing and commercial rehab. The council ended the discussion by moving forward with the contract process.
The next item talked about was tree damage from last week’s storms, and the cleanup process that was covered by insurance. There was also an update on the whitewater park including the discussion of an engineering study on the effect it would have on hydropower production, and a bus tour to Charles City, Iowa this Saturday. The council then discussed Memorial Park renovations which seeks to revamp the entire park. The plan is for the renovations to operate in phases. They will start in October and would go into late May next year. Some of the improvements discussed include a new shower/bath house, the destruction of the old bath house, renovating the shelter house, renovating the trails, improving and adding RV camping places, putting in a crosswalk with flashing lights, lighting, three camper cabins, tent campsites, parking, hiking trails, an overlook, new playground, and a water walk.
The council finished the discussion on Memorial Park by discussing options for securing funds and all of the use and revenue the park would get with these improvements. After a brief discussion on bonds the council moved through some other items including filling the hospital board, approving a small lot extension purchase behind the KCC, and continued discussion of Sunday liquor sales. The council concluded the meeting by addressing a very strange issue. The fire hall was partially built on land not owned by the city. In fact, the land is owned by the Rice Paper Company. The city and the county couldn’t find anything in a title search, and the last copy associated with it is from 1924. The individual who owned the company is obviously deceased but this is an issue the city council members wanted to get corrected quickly and don’t expect it to be a major expense.