City Council renews Main Street Lansing agreement

by B.J. Tomlinson

The Lansing City Council met in regular session Monday night, May 2. Mayor pro tem Rebecca Conway presided.

Craig White, Executive Director of Main Street Lansing (MSL), addressed the Council, requesting permission to erect six history podiums along Main Street. White said the MSL History Committee, consisting of Shirley Darling, Joanne Kehr, Karen Galema and Rick Welsh, has received $5,000 from the Allamakee County Community Foundation and Willard and Arlene Kerndt to fund the project. The first podium will be erected this year at the boat landing park at Main Street and North Front Street near Shep’s. The other podiums will be added in the Spring of 2017. The podiums will be similar to those in Decorah, are of high quality and are guaranteed for 20 years.

The History Committee is also working on a more permanent historical display in the Old Stone School. White said the Committee has toured the structure and believes the big classroom west of the front entrance can be utilized without too much renovating. “New windows will be needed, but the walls and ceiling are in good shape,” White said. “And we have many class pictures and leftovers from the fishing museum to use for displays.” Council members asked about restrooms and insurance requirements, which White said he would check into. Although the Council members expressed support of both projects, no official votes could be taken until the next meeting because the items were not on the Monday meeting agenda.

Bruce Palmborg, Main Street Lansing Board President, addressed the Council regarding the renewal of an agreement between MSL, the City of Lansing and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Palmborg said the original agreement, which was signed in 2012, must now be renewed in order to remain effective. He said the primary difference between the agreements is that this third agreement reduces the number of mandatory Main Street Iowa training sessions for the Director from four to three; the new two-year agreement states that the City of Lansing “… agrees to support both financially and philosophically the work of Main Street Matters, Inc. dba Main Street Lansing…”. Main Street Lansing is funded by general and/or hotel and motel taxes. The Council reviewed and approved Resolution 872, endorsing the Main Street Lansing Program.

The Council discussed a letter received from John and Dottie Drew and several others regarding the condition of Hale Street from State Highway 9 to its intersection with North Front Street. The group stated there are large potholes, the storm sewer on the north side of the street and east of Blackhawk Alley lays partially on the surface and has badly cracked and deteriorating asphalt. Councilman John Rethwisch agreed with the citizens’ assessment of Hale Street, noting that repairs “would be pricey.” No action was taken by the Council at this time, pending further details from John Drew.

Parks Board representative Dave Pleasants said the Sports Complex improvements are mostly done and donations have covered everything up to date. He said more trees would be needed for shade. Following up on items from the last Council meeting, Pleasants reported that new tennis court nets would cost between $200 and $350; the tree Tom Burke is donating is a swamp white oak which will be planted by the play equipment.

Street Superintendent Ken Ripp said the swimming pool will be ready to go after the painting is done; the paint has not yet arrived. He also reported that the old Dock 8 has been removed and the new dock will be installed tomorrow. Councilman Pat Wagner requested that City workers adjust the basketball hoops on the basketball courts at the Park, so that all but one are 10 feet high; one could be eight feet.

In other business, the Council reviewed and approved Resolution #873, reducing the interest rate from 3% to 1.75% for the Water Revenue Bond, commencing June 1, 2016. The Council also approved a “Junk Dealer or Pawnbroker License” for Jason Brink at 901 North Front Street, a liquor and tobacco license for Expresso Convenience Store, and a liquor license for TJ Hunters and Tiki Bar.

City Clerk Katie Becker reported that the Clear Creek project is expected to start this week or next, with The University of Iowa to be the archaeologist on site.