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Cerro Gordo adds property to conservation area, looks to wind down mass vaccination clinic in June
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CERRO GORDO supervisors
CERRO GORDO BOARD

Cerro Gordo adds property to conservation area, looks to wind down mass vaccination clinic in June

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Cerro Gordo County Conservation's land area just got a little bigger on Tuesday morning. 

At the weekly Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors meeting, the three-member panel unanimously approved plans to add property in Meservey and Swaledale to use as parking areas/access points for the Prairie Land Trail which is a 21-mile "recreational corridor" running from Apple Avenue Southwest of Meservey to Nettle Ave Southwest of Mason City (according to the MyCountyParks website).

Director of Cerro Gordo County Conservation Mike Webb told County Supervisors Casey Callanan, Tim Latham and Chris Watts that the land comes via a donation from resident Sue Behr.

"She graciously donated us two properties we can use as parking areas," he said.

According to Webb, the donations would not only provide County Conservation with new parking areas for the Prairie Land Trail but would allow them to work with the Iowa Department of Transportation to get signage pointing people toward the route.

"This’ll be a great addition to park along," Latham said after the item passed before Watts then added: "This will be a very nice addition to the trail."

Prairie Land Trail 1

The southern end of the existing Prairie Land Trail at 190th street south of Mason City. A project from the Cerro Gordo County Conservation Board will extend the trail two miles to the south to 170th Street.

Construction in the cards?

While that's more immediate, one plan the supervisors heard from the County Engineering Department is more tentative and open-ended.

Engineer Brandon Billings discussed with the County Board the importance of having projects good to go in case a federal infrastructure bill passes anytime soon.

"There’s going to be money available," Billings said. "Extra money available to those with shovel-ready projects."

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Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors

Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors

With that possibility, Billings pitched the County Board on hiring local firm WHKS to design several of the potential projects.

According to Billings, one of those would be to improve a bridge on County Road B30 that was built in 1955 and sees average daily traffic of about 2800 people. Another would address a bridge on Wren Avenue over the Winnebago River that sees significantly less traffic but was built in 1935.

WHKS President Fouad Daoud said that he worked closely with Billings to select the projects that made the most sense for such a tentative plan. "Brandon is being proactive along with you to have them shovel-ready so that when funding is available they’re ready to go," he said.

The plans were ultimately tabled for at least a week for further consideration but Daoud did explain to Callanan that even if a federal bill doesn't pass such a plan could still be acted on. "If there’s money available or you receive any grants, the plans will be ready to let," Daoud said.

CG Pub Health - vaccination center 1

CG Public Health has opened a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the former Sears department store location in Southport shopping center on South Federal Avenue in Mason City.

Public Health

Clinical settings are the focus now for Cerro Gordo County Public Health's COVID-19 vaccination plan, according to Director Brian Hanft. 

At the meeting, Hanft said that clinic conversations with patients is likely the way to further protection at a county level. As of the week of May 3, Cerro Gordo has seen 14,631 completions of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccination schedule, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health's Coronavirus website.

In anticipation of the shift, Hanft told the County Board that his department is setting up its last vaccinations at the mass clinic on South Federal Avenue now and plans to be out of the former Sears building by the middle of June.

"We have a demobilization plan," he said.

That being the case, Watts asked Hanft if the Department of Public Health is informing people where they can schedule going forward. "People who want to come in (there) for their primary dose can do that, we’re just going to schedule them somewhere else to get their second dose," Hanft said.

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Jared McNett covers local government for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Jared.McNett@globegazette.com or by phone at 641-421-0527. Follow Jared on Twitter at @TwoHeadedBoy98.

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