Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/972857

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 31, 2014

Three major plans for Kalona in 2013

By Mary Zielinski | Mar 08, 2013

KALONA — Kalona’s to-do list for 2013 has three major projects ranging from watershed management with area towns, building and sharing a community center with the Mid-Prairie School District, and a large-scale Kalona Municipal Park renovation.
Council members Monday approved going forward with all three.
The English River Watershed covers six counties and 17 cities, most of whom supported Kalona in its seeking a federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant last year.
“We did not get the grant,” said city administrator Ryan Schlabaugh, explaining that it would be better for the communities to join together in  28E agreement to seek funding, especially with assistance from the Iowa Flood Center (IFC). And, he suggested, it should be  Kalona, Wellman and Riverside, since they are contiguous and most affected by the new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mapping.
He asked the council to consider hiring Jodi Bailey of Hills, a recent University of Iowa urban and regional planning major graduate, at $50 per hour up to a maximum of $4,000, to contact communities (possibly more than just the three northern-tier ones) to develop a plan and seek funding.  Schlabaugh said it will be a three-to-four-month process and there also is interest from the local Economic Development Group.
Mayor Ken Herington said, “We all know we have to do something.  We do not want our city administrator galloping around to all the towns.  She’d be a great help, and the three communities will take on the lion’s share.”
Schlabaugh said there will be a monthly report as well as documentation of expenses.
The first step toward a joint community center project with the school district was last week in a meeting attended by approximately 15 residents.  The next meeting is set for 7 p.m. March 13 at the city hall.  Schlabaugh stressed that at this stage it is “entirely exploratory,” and numerous questions including site, building ownership, staffing, management and more need to be addressed before any formal discussion take place between Mid-Prairie and Kalona.  There also will be a survey of city and district residents, and an assessment of city needs, he said.  The council agreed to continue with the move.  Funding for the project, for which there is no estimated cost yet, will be from a major donor, city, district and grant funds.
Unanimous approval also came for the Kalona Municipal Park renovation at a cost not to exceed $65,000.  Funds are from the ballpark savings of $8,066 and $28,467 each from the LOST and Washington County Riverboat Foundation (WCRF) savings.
Work will see new equipment, cement work, repair of shelters, tiling to aid drainage, resurfacing the basketball court and new seating, among other items.
“This is long overdue,” said council member Dave Bentley, noting the city also renovated the pool and the campground. Herington asked that some thought also be given to new signage in the park.
In other business, the council:
• approved final payment of $7,813 to All American Conrete for the A Avenue paving;
• approved a conditional building permit for the Stables Subdivision.  The contingency is for completion of lighting and a manhole;
• approved a three-year renewal of the recycle and solid waste contract with Johnson County Refuse with no increase in either contract. “It’s a no-brainer,” said Herington; and
• approved the library seeking a $1,600 grant from the WCRF for the summer reading program.

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