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IDED congratulates Belle Plaine on façade CDBG grant

By JIM MAGDEFRAU

It was a night of good news for the Belle Plaine City Council, as they heard about the successful application for a Community Development Block Grant  (CDBG) of $500,000.

A letter was read by Mayor James Daily from the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED), stating the contract has an effective date of Feb. 3, 2010. Bret L. Mills , IDED director, wrote, “Congratulations on receiving CDBG funds. IDED looks forward to working with the City of Belle Plaine on its community development project.”

Mayor Daily observed, “That was kind of welcomed news.”

The CDBG grant is for the façade master plan for the downtown area. City Administrator Bill Daily said this was helped by letters of commitment from 29 property owners on Main Street for 36 facades. Decisions have yet to be made on how the funds will be distributed, with the help of the design committee.

“There are some issues,” said Daily. He stressed that those who signed the letters are in no way legally obligated. If they are in agreement with the façade plan, then they can sign the temporary easement. He said the city would come up with a proposal of improvements that they will fund, allowing the city to spend the public dollars on their facades.

“This is the first and only grant for this kind of project in the state of Iowa,” said Bill Daily.

Also in his report, Daily said the Vision Iowa Community Attractions and Tourism presentation will be March 10. He feels that Belle Plaine receiving the CDBG grant will enhance Belle Plaine’s chances of receiving CAT funds.

The city is also applying for an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant for downtown street lighting. The request for proposal deadline is March 5. Belle Plaine will work with Alliant on this. “We’re hopeful we can do it,” said Daily. “This would just be additional money for proposed LED street lighting.”

The city worked on a water main break on 13th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues last week.

Also related to the downtown project, a resolution was approved to authorize the levy of taxes to pay for general obligation purpose bonds for the downtown revitalization project. The loan agreement is with Northland Securities for $2 million.

City Administrator Bill Daily also gave an update on dog and cat licenses. Belle Plaine had 588 licenses issued in 2009. So far this year there are 345 licenses. Daily said they substantially behind last year’s numbers, prior to the deadline of April 1.

Daily met with DOT officials about doing a new overlay on Highway 21 in Belle Plaine. They asked if the city would be interested in marking a three-lane highway with turning lanes on the outside lanes. The highway is now marked as four-lanes. Daily said it’s just a matter of painting the lines differently.

Police Chief Kris Hudson felt this might slow traffic down on Highway 21. Council member Harold Ealy agreed that turning lanes added safety. Daily agreed that there were safety benefits with three lanes, especially with more students at the Longfellow school. Also with traffic slowed down, it would enhance their chances of people turning onto Main Street.

A vacation request was approved for Daily from March 22 to March 26.

Other business

In other business at the board meeting Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the city hall in Belle Plaine:

Police Chief Kris Hudson gave a report. He sought direction on a part-time officer seeking extra pay for working on a holiday. Hudson stressed the city pays regular wages for part-time and reserve officers. The matter will be put on the agenda for the next work session. The work session will March 15 at 5 p.m.

The council approved the renewal of the Class C Liquor, outdoor service and Sunday Sales permits for the Belle Plaine Country Club. The Class C Liquor and Sunday Sales permits were approved the for American Legion Post.

John DeRaad was re-appointed to the Historical Preservation Board Commission for three years.

Marvin Kucera was appointed to the tree board for three years.

The council approved a payment of $53,195 to Garling Construction for the aquatic center.

The mayor was authorized to sign an ACIP Data Sheet for land acquisition for the terminal area and hangar expansion at the municipal airport, as well as for a snow removal storage building.

A resolution of necessity was approved for unpaid mowing, snow removal and utility bills at several properties in Belle Plaine.

City Attorney Jennifer Zahradnik presented a court docket for a curfew violation in which the city was assessed court costs for failing to produce the defendant. She said the magistrate felt it was city’s responsibility to transport the minor to court. She said the parent would now be cited. She also hoped the new curfew ordinance would resolve the issue of getting minors to the courthouse for court appearances.

UPDATED February 18, 2010 12:00 PM

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