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Charles City Council updated on watershed quality project

By Travis Fischer,

The Charles City Council discussed a street closure, watershed activities and a new lawn mower during its workshop session on Wednesday, March 27.

Ahead of the workshop, the council held a special meeting to approve a short term loan ahead of the upcoming fiscal year. A regular part of the annual budgeting process, the city will be borrowing $173,000 for Police Department and Fire Department expenses going into the 2025 fiscal year.

“This is our annual short term borrowing,” said City Clerk Trudy O’Donnell. “We do it every year.”

After approving the resolution, the council went into its regularly scheduled work session, where Lanie Sanvig of Tellurian Brewing discussed a street closure request for an upcoming charity event.

Co-sponsored by Tellurian Brewing, the Charles City Community Fund Full Moon 5K has been scheduled for April 19 and Sanvig is asking the city to close Court Street adjacent to the brewery for the evening of the run.

Sanvig noted that she had been in touch with Kwik Star, the only business that would potentially be impacted, and that they did not have a problem with the street closure.

“It will be fun,” said Sanvig. “Live music, food trucks and running.”

The charity run will block off Court Street from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. to accommodate setup and takedown.

In other business, the council met with Floyd County Soil and Water Conservation District Coordinator Doug Johnson for an update on the Charles City Watershed Project.

Getting through year four of the five-year project, Johnson discussed the various avenues that have been taken to improve and protect the watershed in and around the city.

From stream water monitoring to encouraging the implementation of bioreactors, to wetlands and saturated buffers to capture agricultural runoff, Johnson has been active in the development of a multitude of projects relating to the watershed.

“One of the areas that I have been most pleased with is the arboretum project,” said Johnson. “That has been one of my more fun projects.”

By encouraging area farmers to implement nitrate reduction strategies like rotating crops, using cover crops and creating buffer zones, hundreds of thousands of pounds of nitrogen can be prevented from running off from the fields into waterways, protecting water supplies and saving agricultural costs at the same time.

“I would like to thank you for the work you’ve put in,” said council member Phoebe Pittman. “You have done a lot.”

Finally, Parks and Recreation Director Tyler Mitchell reported to the council that his department is ready to purchase a new lawnmower. Utilizing money from the CIA, Mitchell is shopping around for quotes now and would like to lock in a price for a new mower to be delivered and paid for later this summer.

“Every place I contacted is six to eight months out,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell is looking for a 72-inch diesel mower with zero-turn capabilities and airless tires. The department purchased a similar mower two years ago and Mitchell says that members of the department eagerly await their turn to take it out for a spin.

Closing out the meeting, City Engineer-in-Training Brian Sullivan reported that the council should anticipate a request to push back the restart date for the Clearwell project, which suspended work over the winter months.

Though scheduled to restart next week, the unstable weather has made it inadvisable to continue with construction, he said.

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