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City council hits Main Street project milestone

By Travis Fischer,

The Charles City Council reviewed the first pay request for the Main Street Reconstruction project during its workshop meeting on Wednesday, June 12.

Starting on April 29, Heartland Construction and its subcontractors have been at work removing pavement and constructing new curbs and sidewalks. There have been some setbacks so far, expected and unexpected, with weather related delays and finding unexpected things during the digging process, including an unmarked basement, a solid concrete line, and old railroad tires.

“There’s been a few surprises, but we’re moving right along,” said Veenstra and Kimm’s Jason Petersburg.

Petersburg recommended the approval of the payment in the amount of $381,219.39 for work completed between April 29 and May 31.

Also at the meeting, the council reviewed a street closure request from the Charles City Rotary for this year’s Rotary Car Show.

Due to the ongoing construction on Main Street, the Rotary is planning to hold the car show at the city parking lot near Hot Shots on Saturday, July 13.

Continuing a discussion from a prior meeting, the council revisited the idea of increasing handicap parking availability near the Charles Theatre. Previously, the suggestion of introducing a mid-block crosswalk was considered, though not recommended due to DOT guidelines.

Another option considered was the use of temporary handicap parking at the theater, though City Engineer John Fallis said that route would face similar problems. Though not necessarily forbidden, a temporary handicap parking spot would be difficult to keep temporary.

“Once it goes in, it’s pretty much permanent,” said Fallis.

The council also brought up the possibility of utilizing a temporary crosswalk, however those are only allowed for schools and emergency situations.

Instead, the city will revisit the matter again following the Main Street construction, seeking the DOT’s guidance on what would be appropriate.

In other business, the city has received pay request No. 12 for the one million gallon clearwell project, requesting $132,159.60 for exterior waterproofing and backfill and shoring removal.

Meeting with Parks and Recreation Director Tyler Mitchell, the council looked over the plans for renovations to the Lions Field Pool.

Bids for the project are expected in July with renovations to begin in August and substantial completion by mid-April.

Mitchell also updated the council on the purchase of new playground equipment for Sportsman’s Park. Paid for with hotel/motel revenue combined with donations and fundraising, the $266,000 project will include the new equipment, installation and surfacing for the playground.

Water Superintendent Cory Spieker approached the council with quotes for a new dump truck and a plan to cycle out the oldest truck in the city’s fleet, either soliciting bids for the truck or taking it to auction.

Spieker also brought a quote for a new sewer tractor with a lift to accommodate the department’s new cameras. The current tractor is unable to operate effectively in pipes larger than 15 inches as it has no lift to raise the camera up above the sitting water level in pipes of that size.

A new tractor, with a lift, would alleviate this problem and Spieker said they could keep the old tractor for use in smaller water mains.

Finally, Spieker brought up the need for repairs to the pump for the city’s Well No. 8, which has issues with its bearings. Pulling and rebuilding the pump will cost an estimated $39,000

With this being another pump in need of repairs recently, council member Keith Starr asked if it would be prudent to pull and replace all of the city’s pumps.

The workshop concluded with a brief discussion about an update to the city code for residential electrical permits. As the city no longer has an employee to handle the permit process due to staff retirement, it will instead be done by a state inspector, which already takes care of the commercial and industrial inspections.

The city code will need to be updated to reflect this change.

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