Kalona moves on with community center; joins watershed group
KALONA — In a 4-1 vote Monday, the Kalona Council approved hiring Martin Gardner Architect of Marion at a cost of $11,800 to design the preliminary plans for a community/recreation center in a possible partnership with the Mid-Prairie School District.
Council member Dave Bentley, who voted no, asked about spending “nearly $12,000” to find out if the plan is possible in conjunction with the school system. He was concerned about spending money to find it shouldn’t be done. He also noted that Gardner was the highest fee, and was told the proposed project is the firm’s type of speciality.
Mid-Prairie, which plans to build an additional double gym facility on the middle school site, has Shive-Hattery of Iowa City, designing the district’s plan. Mayor Ken Herington said that regardless of what Kalona decides, “Mid-Prairie will go on.”
Council member Jenelle Bender stressed that the joint effort could save money for both, since the plans would meet specific goals for each, as well as potential overlap in facility and services. A survey of Kalona residents indicated “strong interest” in such a community center.
Council member Craig Spitzer noted that the council “already agree to the dollar figure” in a prior meeting when it also agreed to meet with Martin Gardner.
“It is up to you if we go ahead with this,” said Herington. The motion to go ahead noted that the fee “is not to exceed $11,800.”
There was no disagreement when it came to approving a 28E Agreement for Kalona to join the English River Watershed Management Authority (ERWMA), an effort that was spearheaded by Kalona from the inception, and could involve as many as 22 entities. Wellman, Riverside and Grinnell also approved the agreement Monday and Tuesday, which Washington County joined. Keokuk County and the Washington County Soil and Conservation District approved the agreement earlier.
The ERWMA has an August 15 deadline to obtain a significant membership to go forward with seeking a $150,000 planning and development grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. There are 16 municipalities and six counties along the 640 mile English River watershed.
The ERWMA has neither taxing nor eminent domain powers, has no dues, and any who wish to leave may do so with 60 days notice. Funding, to date, for organizational efforts has been from donations and municipal allocations with the long term funding to come from state and federal grants.
In other business, the council:
•approved the final lien release for the Stables Subdivision upon learning the required manhole had been installed in the area;
•approved applying for a REAP grant to aid with the development of the Kalona to Richmond trail;
•approved an outdoor service area for Tuscan Moon Grill on 5th for the Kalona Celebration August 24;
•approved and engineering service contract with Garden & Associates for sanitary sewer improvements, force main and lining of lines, in the amount of $124,300;
•moved the September 2 meeting to september 3 to accommodate the Labor Day holiday; and
•approved temporary closing of 5th Street and C Avenue for the Kalona Celebration August 24.