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New Parks and Rec Director named at council planning session

  • Council member Jerry Joerger (left), Mayor Dean Andrews (middle) and Wildwood Golf Course Superintendent Joel Bruner (right) talk before a Charles City Council planning session on Wednesday. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Council member Keith Starr (left), City Engineer John Fallis (right), and Parks and Recreation Director Steve Lindman (background), sit in on a Charles City Council planning session on Wednesday at Wildwood Golf Course. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Mayor Dean Andrews (left) and City Clerk Trudy O'Donnell (right) prepare for a city council planning session on Wednesday at the Wildwood Golf Course on Wednesday in Charles City. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

By Kelly Terpstra,

The venue was changed, but it was still business as usual for the Charles City Council Wednesday night.

As part of a traveling series, the council held its planning session in the clubhouse at Wildwood Golf Course. This particular workshop paid homage to the Parks and Recreation Department, where Director Steve Lindaman’s last day in that position will be Friday, May 31. He has served as Charles City Parks and Recreation director since 1982.

A tour of the Wildwood grounds was conducted by golf course Superintendent Joel Bruner prior to the special workshop. Burgers, sides, drinks and dessert were provided for all in attendance after council members came back inside after their journey around the links.

Lindaman said his replacement has been named and that position will now be turned over to Tyler Mitchell, a Charles City High School graduate. Mitchell will start the position on Thursday, May 23.

“He’s going to do a very good job. I almost scared him off,” chuckled Lindaman. “I said, ‘Hey, you’re 25. Forty years from now you’re going to look like this.'”

City Administrator Steve Diers said to Lindaman, “Just in case this is the last official sitting, we get to say this: Thank you for all your years of service and everything you’ve done for the community, the city and the Parks and Rec Department.”

The council chambers it was not, but city matters were still undertaken and discussed in the different locale. One agenda item that received much attention was a proposed sidewalk inspection program that can fill gaps where a concrete link is missing for pedestrians.

City Engineer John Fallis said Charles City needs to update its ADA (American’s Disability Act) Transition Plan, which the sidewalk inspection program will address. The plan primarily focuses on accessibility issues for pedestrians in the city’s right of way. Part of the inspection program is a surveying process that would look for defects or needed repairs.

“What we want to do is look at the older areas first because they will probably have more hydrants that will have to fixed,” said Fallis. “That’s where we are right now, is coming up to a consensus from the council so that we can have a plan that we can go out to the public with.”

Fallis said there are 1,085 blocks of sidewalks in Charles City and he is advocating a 15-year program to get the field and office work done. He said the 15-year plan would require 320 staff hours to complete, or roughly eight weeks.

“It would be nice to get it done quicker,” said council member DeLaine Freeseman. “It would sure be nice to have an annual report to see how it’s going and try to shoot for 10 (years).”

The inspection also includes sidewalk ramps and completion of the sidewalk system where sidewalks could be added in an area that has none and complete a full route.

Mayor Dean Andrews said the emphasis should be put on repairing the sidewalks Charles City has before putting in new ones.

“Who’s going to pay for those new sidewalks?” asked Andrews.

The inspections would start this fall and Fallis said property owners would be given a year to complete the projects after inspection letters are sent out.

“What has not been completed – all those sidewalks will be thrown into a city project,” said Fallis.

In conjunction with the inspection program, the city has prepared an ordinance amendment to allow property owners to fix sidewalks in the right of way without obtaining licensing and bonding.

“We do require when there’s sidewalk work to be done it must be done by a licensed and bonded contractor,” said Fallis about the current code. “We’re more restrictive than a lot of cities. Part of this would be an amendment to the code that would allow property owners to do their own work.”

Property owners would still have to get a permit from the city and be inspected in order to complete the improvements.

The sidewalk ordinance changes will be up for council approval at the next regular meeting on Monday, May 20.

The housing department has plans to embark on an electrical service upgrade to South Cedar Terrace. Part of the project entails construction of utility poles, transformers and underground lines. The architect’s estimated cost for the project was $398,100.

“We did have five contractors that had pulled plans and we only ended up with one bid,” said Housing Director Heidi Nielsen.

Stanton Electric of New Hampton submitted a bid for $317,000 and an alternate bid of $66,000 for lighting work. Construction could start near the end of June and the rest of the work would be done during July.

Request for proposals were sent out to three architect firms for bids on design work pertaining to parking lot construction at all three housing department sites – North/South Cedar Terrace and Morningside Apartments. Work would fix any deteriorated asphalt and cement and eliminate tripping hazards. Additional parking space would be added to North Cedar Terrace.

Low bid came from Veenstra and Kimm Inc. for $22,500. SEH’s bid amounted to $22,900 and Fehr Graham’s bid came in at $40,000. Fallis said has Veenstra and Kimm Inc. has the potential to cost more with additional services requested.

Other agenda items discussed at the planning session were:

– The Charles City School District is looking to purchase a 50-foot-by-200-foot piece of property that the city recently acquired from Allied Land Development near the high school, to be used as part of a new softball and baseball field the district is planning to build in that area. The small parcel of land is behind the left field wall of the ball diamond, which would sit southeast of Charles City High School. Diers said the school district would like to start construction on the complex as soon as June.

– The city has been negotiating with King Construction on additional work conducted as part of the Riverside Drive/Illinois Street Reconstruction Project. The majority of the work was conducted by Kamm Excavating. The total requested additional cost was approximately $46,000. The city submitted a counter offer for that work with an adjusted change order in the amount of around $37,000.

– Lindaman discussed purchase of a new Toro mower for a recommended purchase price of approximately $22,000.