The Forest City council on May 15 approved the city administrator bringing a future ordinance to address Forest City High School’s request for no parking on a portion of L Street from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on school days. School officials are seeking to have the change in effect by the start of next school year.
Parking there has been a safety issue for school children when buses load students after school days. The no-parking request would apply to the south side of West L Street in the section west of Best Street. It would represent another action to address concerns near the end of school days.
“We appreciate that street now being one-way,” Forest City Middle School Principal Zach Dillavou said. “We feel that has tremendously improved the safety for the kids and drivers.”
Dillavou explained that 15 buses typically line up in front of the middle and high schools at the end of school days. He said nearby parked cars represent a safety issue with students needing to cross in the area. Back in November 2020, the council adopted an ordinance designating one-way traffic around the schools to ease traffic congestion.
People are also reading…
“I did talk to (Superintendent) Darwin Lehmann about it last Friday and he said ‘it’s important. We don’t want kids to get hit.’”
Dillavou confirmed that having the additional protection in place by fall 2023 is the intent. City Administrator Huffman said it would give time for an ordinance to be presented to the council for its review and consideration before then.
“The school offered to pay for the signs and posts to make this happen,” Street and Sanitation Superintendent Andrew Faber said.
“I think they know what they are talking about when they see this stuff every day,” Mayor Ron Holland said.
Council members also approved requests of co-owner Jay Steffensen of Paddler’s Tap, located at 136 North Clark Street, to continue a parklet agreement with the city for an outdoor seating area at the establishment. It applies to public space at the front of the establishment that does not block the road on Thursdays until 10 p.m. as well as from 4 p.m. on Fridays through closing on Saturdays. It also can apply to special event times approved by the council.
“I’ve talked to the businesses around there and they’re fine with it too,” Steffensen said.
After approving the parklet agreement to run through 2024, the council also approved Steffensen’s request for special events on the following dates:
- June 23 for a retirement party.
- June 24 for a retirement party.
- July 22 for a class reunion.
- Aug. 26 for a birthday party.
The council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s fuel and purchased power cost adjustment. The proposed electric rate change would to keep base rates unchanged and extend the existing electric surcharge for all of fiscal year 2024, but at a reduced rate of $0.005 per kilowatt hour. It has been $0.011 per kilowatt hour.
Council members also approved a first reading for another annual step increase in sewer rates related to the city’s upcoming large-scale wastewater treatment plant upgrade. The cost based on water usage would increase from $8.00 per 1,000 gallons to $9.00 per 1,000 gallons. The proposed ordinance would increase the base sewer rental fee for municipal water connections from $7.00 to $9.00 per month. The capital equipment reserve charge of $9 per month would remain the same.
“We were advised we had to get our bonding capacity up,” said City Administrator Huffman of the proposed ordinance and wastewater treatment plant upgrade process.
In other business, the council approved:
- $1.7 million fiscal year 2023 budget amendment resolution, which City Administrator Huffman said consists mainly of flow-through grants.
- $5,674 Larson Contracting price quote to repair the city’s street shed overhead door.
- Closure of the streets around the Winnebago Courthouse Square on July 14 in addition to 6th and K Streets on July 15th, for Puckerbrush Days.
- Fireworks permit for 10 p.m. on July 14. Chamber of Commerce Director Julianna Burkholder noted that Puckerbrush fireworks have been moved from Saturday night last year to Friday night this year.
Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.