The Forest City council approved an agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation on March 6. It will allow a traffic detour from U.S. Highway 69 on the south side of Forest City later this spring for necessary railroad surface improvements.
City Administrator Daisy Huffman said she would typically consult with city staff for such project authorizations. Since this will be a significant impact, the item was brought before the council for approval. Huffman said it will be good that the public knows this project detour is approaching.
The closure will extend from 325th Street in the general vicinity of Clark’s Sawmill to 330th Street. Detour traffic will return on Crystal Lake Road. The agreement permits the use of roads for detour from the west city limits of Forest City and east one mile on Crystal Lake Road to the junction of Highway 69.
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The IDOT agreement estimates that the highway closure and detour could extend from April 10-16. Huffman said there is a possibility that the work could be finished sooner than one week.
“I guess for a week, we can probably handle it,” Mayor Ron Holland said.
Council members unanimously approved the agreement.
Additional asbestos testing
Electric Department Supervisor Duane Kuhn cited continued asbestos concerns at the city light plant. He said that the asbestos assessment paperwork of Terracon was received, which confirmed asbestos in several areas of the electric plant.
“We knew that,” Kuhn said. “The next step is to look at window glazing on windows in the older part of the building.”
Kuhn said $350 was authorized for the additional testing.
“We’ve got so much glazing that’s coming loose,” Kuhn said. “It’s going to be ugly if it comes in over 1%.”
If mitigation is required following test results, he said the city would have options to hire someone who is authorized for such work or could train someone in safe mitigation. Kuhn also said his department could get some recommendations from consulting companies. He said related to the test results received, they could get some solutions for covering asbestos that is open.
“It probably needs to be moved or wrapped,” Kuhn said.
In December of last year, the council approved spending $5,900 for collection and analysis of up to 105 test samples at the plant. It was the first asbestos assessment for the plant since 1987.
Country Club Heights project
Council members approved a $92,760 engineering agreement with Veenstra & Kimm for the city’s Country Club Heights improvements project. It is for preliminary engineering, special assessment, and final design phase work. The 2024 street reconstruction project has an estimated street construction cost of more than $1.2 million. Streets involved in the reconstruction will be Dellwood Drive, Fairview Drive, and Oakmont Drive. Veenstra & Kimm reported that the affected streets are in very poor condition.
“That’s been on the agenda for several years,” said Mayor Ron Holland, calling it a big deal. “It’s a project that needs to be done.”
Project work will also include some water main additions and storm sewer improvements, raising the total improvements project cost to an estimated $1.46 million.
Public hearing scheduled
The council approved a 7 p.m. March 20 public hearing for a lease-purchase agreement. It is for the acquisition of equipment to be used at Bear Creek Golf Course with principal lease payments not to exceed $230,000. According to a resolution for the lease-purchase, Bear Creek Golf Course will make, on the City’s behalf, all payments and execute a promissory note.
The Toro equipment will include two large mowers quoted at a cost of $47,604 and two large mowers quoted for $66,828.
“Once this is in place, Bear Creek Golf Course can place the order for these mowers,” said Huffman.
The city is also with the purchase of a $56,000 sprayer with accessories, according to Huffman. It is also a Toro.
Review of ordinances
The council approved the first reading of changes to an ordinance pertaining to the city’s compost/burning site. It would impose civil penalties of $25 for failure to register and $500 for unlawful dumping. Everyone must register to utilize the site and may also be cited by city law enforcement officers for not registering.
Council members also tabled a vote on changes to an ordinance pertaining to animal protection and control in the city. City Attorney Steve Bakke will make council-recommended changes to the ordinance prior to the next meeting. The revised ordinance draft is anticipated to include violation fines of $25 plus $5 for each additional 30 days up to three months with filing of formal criminal charges thereafter.
Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at email@example.com.