County OKs conditional support for annual Iowa bike ride visit next year
A letter in support of the City of Washington’s bid to became an overnight stop on RAGBRAI® 2015 received conditional approval from the Washington County Board of Supervisors.
Washington Chamber of Commerce Director Michelle Redlinger and Washington Economic Development Director Ed Raber attended the supervisors’ weekly meeting Tuesday.
Redlinger told the board that the Chamber is going to submit an annual application for a spot on RAGBRAI, and that she is collecting letters of support to accompany the application.
Raber said RAGBRAI usually chooses low-traffic roads and that the Chamber isn’t asking the county for funds.
RAGBRAI is scheduled for the third week in July, and that schedule coincides with the Friday night Demolition Derby during the Washington County Fair.
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. asked the pair if they see any problem with the two events happening the same day. He also said the fairgrounds has been a big campground for RAGBRAI in the past.
Raber said about 75 acres would be needed for RAGBRAI, and that he and Redlinger have come up with enough camping space in city parks and private yards. The last time RAGBRAI stopped in Washington was in 2000, Redlinger said. The route’s announcement will be sometime in January.
Raber said Washington probably has a less than 50-50 chance of being selected.
Supervisor Richard Young, who participated in the meeting via speakerphone, said he has concerns because two ambulances are on the fairgrounds during the derby. The county has a total of four ambulances. He said he wanted people to be aware of that.
When asked if the derby might be moved to a different date, Raber said the likelihood of that happening is the same as moving the courthouse.
Seward moved that the letter of support be made conditional due to concerns about public safety and emergency medical services. The motion received unanimous support.
In other business, the board received a request from Kate Gianni, a member on the Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District, to consider a resolution supporting a Washington County Riverboat Foundation grant application.
Gianni said the group would like to place signs identifying the names of creeks on state and county roads. She said the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) would approve 20 locations on state roads. She said there are 28 locations on hard-surfaced county roads.
County Engineer Jacob Thorius thinks the signs are a good idea. They would inform the public and provide additional landmarks for people who may need help. He said the roads department would place the signs as work schedules allow.
Gianni said she would e-mail information about the resolution to the board. The board will place the resolution on next week’s agenda.
The county is short one ambulance, Young said, after a collision that totaled one of the ambulances. He asked the board to approve a motion to accept bids for a new ambulance, and the board did so, with Young abstaining.
Young said the ambulance involved in the accident is the one scheduled to be replaced next. He said the ambulance, minus equipment, would cost about $150,000, and take four to six months to arrive. He hopes the bids will be ready for next week’s meeting.
The board received and acknowledged annual reports from the Washington County Conservation Board and the Washington Public Library.
The next meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2.