Waukon City Council hears reports on Third Street NE, Fruechte building

by Bob Beach

The Waukon City Council began its regular meeting Monday, September 15 by holding a public hearing regarding the addition of the West Side Development Area to the Southeast Urban Renewal Plan. There being no comments from the public, the public hearing was closed and the Council then unanimously approved an amendment to the Southeast Urban Renewal Plan to add the West Side Development area.
The Council next approved a pair of resolutions to order and approve plans and specifications, notice of hearing and form of contract for the installation of basic infrastructure in the West Side Development Area, including water, sewer and curb and gutter. The Council also approved standard professional services agreements with Fehr-Grahm Engineering and Environmental for the West Side Development and First Street Southwest improvements.
Mayor Loren Beneke reported that Veenstra and Kimm, Inc., the independent engineering firm hired by the City to review the recent paving project on Third Street NE, had completed its report and found no large problems. Beneke said that a few small problems were identified in the report regarding drainage areas and that estimates to fix those problems total only $8,700. Project Engineer Lyle TeKippe said that there were already plans in place to address some of the problems identified in the report and now that the report has been received, those plans can be put into motion and completed before winter.
Mayor Beneke also reported that Fehr Graham Engineering had completed its report on the Fruechte building on Main Street downtown, the former location of Dave's Vacs, noting that the estimated cost of restoring the building to structural soundness is around $160,000. City Attorney Jim Garrett reported that the cost of demolition of the building had been estimated at around $250,000, but suggested that the Council seek a second opinion on that estimate. Allamakee County Economic Development Executive Director Laura Olson said that she would consult with ISU Extension and Waukon Works about possible funding sources.
Jeanne Roggensack of Waukon addressed the Council regarding the sidewalk between JaDecc's and Waukon Dental on First Avenue Northwest. She said that it would be nice if the City fixed its own sidewalk as an example to others whose sidewalks are also in need of repair. Mayor Beneke said that the Council would take the suggestion under advisement, but with the number of projects already under consideration, it would be difficult to move the sidewalk repair to the top of the list. City Clerk Diane Sweeney told the Council that the Finance Committee should meet soon to prioritize projects, as the City is approaching 75% of its borrowing limit. The Council directed Street Superintendent Randy Murphy to get an estimate for the cost of the repairs to the sidewalk.
City Attorney Garrett reported that Dennis Lyons had declined to be involved with a review of Aveka's financial records to help determine if the City would be willing to provide financial assistance to mitigate the smell sometimes produced by the facility. He said that Hagen and Kallevang had agreed to conduct the review at a cost of $156 per hour for two to five hours. The Council agreed to hire Hagen and Kallevang to conduct the review.
The Council also opened bids for the rental of 12.8 tillable acres near the airport. John Burns submitted the high bid of $240 per acre, which the Council voted unanimously to accept. Also bidding was Heath Dee, the previous lease holder, at $231 per acre. The prior lease was for $160 per acre.
In other business, the Council approved loan agreements and related documents with REC regarding the interest-free loan through the USDA for the construction of the new fire station. City Clerk Sweeney noted that under the terms of the loan agreement, the funds would be disbursed on a reimbursement basis, rather than in a lump sum.