Lansing City Council votes to re-submit CDBG grant, discusses possible project to provide public fishing access by marina dike

by Julie Berg-Raymond

After a public hearing on Resolution #1003 authorizing submission of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) water/sewer improvement project application held during its regular meeting Monday, June 3, the Lansing City Council approved both a community development and housing needs assessment and re-submission of the CDBG Water/Sewer application.

An earlier submission of the application, prepared on behalf of the city by Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC), was signed by the city clerk and subsequently was deemed incomplete by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) - by which the CDBG program is administered - because it is supposed to be signed by the mayor.

According to an email interview with Mayor Mike Verdon May 24, the replacement application will be submitted after July 1. The project for which funding is being sought involves replacement/upgrade of existing water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer utilities along Platt Street, North Street and 4th Street.

Alex Galema, President of Friends of Pool 9 - an organization that aims “to conserve the cultural and natural resources of Pool 9 of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, and to foster wise public use of the refuge and the Upper Mississippi River” - spoke to the council about the possibility of developing a project that would provide fishing access around the Lansing marina.

Specifically, Friends of Pool 9 is proposing to build a cement walkway around the outer perimeter of the marina dike for land-based fishing. Galema told the council that, while the organization is not seeking city funding of the project, it does “need permission from the right people.” Unfortunately, he noted, the source of that permission is unclear. Galema showed the council historical documents between the City of Lansing and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regarding building the marina – none of which clearly defines ownership of the dike or its outer perimeter.

The council will forward the data provided by Galema to Lansing City Attorney John Anderson for his legal opinion with regard to ownership of the dike, Mayor Mike Verdon said in an email interview following the meeting. “The council is enthusiastically in support of the project,” Mayor Verdon said.

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