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CAT grant is trump card in BP project

BELLE PLAINE –City Administrator Bill Daily gave several updates related to the main street project at the Belle Plaine City Council meeting Monday night.

Daily said the city had good representation at the Community Attractions and Tourism (CAT) grant meeting March 10. “Now it’s wait and see,” he said. More on this is in a separate story. There might be lingering issues with the Vision Iowa board regarding downtown revitalization, according to Daily. “We hope they find it in their hearts to fund it,” he said, “and we can move forward with the downtown revitalization.”

He added the city is a long way from getting going on the facade master plan, as it works on requests for qualifications for architects and various other bids. The CAT grant is the trump card on how far the city will be moving on this. “Everybody’s going to have to remain patient,” he said, “myself included. We’ll see what happens.”

Daily said the city was not able to make the numbers work on the energy efficiency and conservation block grant, so they did not apply for it. They could not show the energy savings could cover the cost of the project.

Work on the aquatic center is on schedule, with the scheduled opening on May 28.

Several actions were taken by the Belle Plaine City Council related to the facade master plan community development block grant. This included a resolution on use of excessive force, a residential anti-displacement and relocation and assistant plan, equal opportunity policy and using alternate signatures on project-related correspondence.

Work session

A work session was held prior to the meeting Monday night. They discussed the town’s annual cleanup day, which is set for May 3. Daily wanted to be sure the city wanted to continue this, since it usually costs the city $15,000 in time and vehicles. The council and Daily felt it was still a good project. It was approved during the regular meeting.

Police Chief Kris Hudson discussed how to resolve a problem with the police department’s 444-2323 line. This is a non-emergency line linking directly to the emergency communications dispatcher. For the past two years the city has used a microwave link, allowing for free phone calls to Vinton. The link occasionally goes down and the calls are not routed to the sheriff’s office. He felt the microwave was not reliable. He suggested going back to the old method of making long distance calls.

The Belle Plaine Historical Society presented the costs for lighting the mural at the museum. The costs given by the historical society are $1,900 for materials and $4,000 for labor. They have asked the city to pay for the project, plus the monthly utility bill. The council felt more information was needed on the quote given. Council member Harold Ealy also pointed out the city is already paying $4,000 a month for street lights. He suggested the city donate to the project and have the historical society pay for the rest. The council voted to donate $1,000.

The council also discussed the alley to Longfellow Elementary and the neighboring fence belonging to Bob Spading. There were neighbors with traffic concerns, according to Daily. The council will look into this after the school’s temporary fence is removed. They will also look at liability issues and check with the zoning board.

Other business

- The Class C Beer and Sunday Sales Permit were renewed for Casey’s.

- A letter of authorization was approved for Mosquito Control of Iowa. This allows for aerial spraying for mosquitoes.

- The contract was approved with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for the I-Jobs “Green” storm water grant for $100,000.

- An application was approved with the Iowa Nonprofit Resources Center and Institute of Public Affairs for training and technical assistance with community economic development strategies.

- A commercial interior grant was approved for 827 12th Street in the amount of $3,446, as recommended by the design committee. This is for Belle Plaine True Value.

- A payment of $8,254.40 was approved to Garling Construction for the aquatic center.

- Judy Akers was present to discuss parking for the Brad Holst apartment building at 832 12th Street. She said there are five parking spots for the six apartments. She wanted to have a portion of Ninth Avenue opened up for parking, alternating sides of the street for street cleaning. Ealy suggested having Holst purchase the city-owned lot next to the building for parking. No action was taken.

- Ordinances were given their first reading on municipal infractions and parallel parking along Eighth Avenue, from 13th Street to 16th Street.

- A letter was read from Don Drahos, thanking the city leaders for the work in securing grants for the main street project, stating, “I am amazed as I look over the past 10 years or so and see what once were ‘pipe dreams’ actually becoming reality.”

UPDATED March 16, 2010 11:53 AM

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