Lansing City Council supports proposal to use City Park for Farmer’s Market, Music in the Park

by Julie Berg-Raymond

At the regular Lansing City Council meeting Monday evening, December 20, Mayor Melissa Hammell conducted the second reading of Ordinance No. 201, calling for a moratorium “prohibiting the building or construction of structures within the City of Lansing.” The action is being considered while the City of Lansing Code of Ordinances is currently under review and revision. There were no public comments following the second reading, and the third and final reading is being planned for the next regular council meeting in January.

In minutes for a special council meeting held Monday, December 13 to resume the City Code review and update, City Clerk Katie Becker reported the council was able to get through the outline to review and confirm wording presented by Upper Explorerland Regional Planner Michelle Barness. The council and Barness will continue to review the old and new drafts of the Code book.

During the special meeting, the council also discussed sending a letter of support for a Tell the Full History Preservation Grant.

The council approved supporting a proposal to use the city park and shelter adjacent to the splash pad in the City Park Thursdays, May 1 through September 30, for community events such as a Farmer’s Market and Music in the Park.

The request for support came to the council following a proposal presented by Daniel Wagner to the Parks Board at its meeting Monday, December 13. In minutes of that meeting, it was reported that “Wagner’s proposal is the outcome of his work with the Kee High STEM BEST class where students have been working on developing business plans for projects that can benefit Lansing.” The minutes further noted that, “[w]hile there are many details to be finalized, Daniel seeks support from the City to continue to develop plans. He is also conducting a survey of potential market vendors and the survey results will be used in further development of the concept.”

In discussion of the proposal, pros and cons were considered regarding having the Farmer’s Market located in the downtown plaza vs. in the city park. A positive aspect of the downtown plaza location, it was noted, is visibility; negatives include lack of parking, difficulty of access for market vendors, and lack of shade. Regarding the city park location, the proposal recognized that “significant signage would be needed” to direct visitors and patrons to the market in the city park; and schedules would need to avoid conflicts with sporting events.

The plans for a proposed Farmer’s Market and Music in the Park currently call for markets to be held every other Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. (Thursdays were chosen so as not to conflict with other farmer’s markets held Fridays and Saturdays, thereby allowing vendors to add another market to their schedule, rather than having to choose which ones to attend). Plans currently call for Music in the Park to be held once a month, in conjunction with the potential Farmer’s Market. The pavilion at the city park would be used for performance space.

During review and consideration of a proposal to remove trees around the swimming pool and a request for ad funds to publicly seek bids for removal, the mayor noted that she had already received one email from a citizen urging that alternatives to removal be considered. The council decided to advise the Parks Board to get quotes on trimming, rather than removing, trees.

In other Parks Board business brought before the council, a request was approved to advertise in January and February for six summer 2022 recreation positions: pool manager, assistant pool manager, baseball and softball head coaches, and baseball and softball assistant coaches.

The council accepted the bid from Town and Country Sanitation, Inc. of Boscobel, WI for collection and disposal of residential solid waste, curbside recyclable materials, bulky waste and yard waste for the City of Lansing. Based on a three-year contract (from 1/1/22-12/31/24), Town and County Sanitation’s price quote for approximately 580 homes was $15.25 per home, per month, for the first two years, with a four-percent increase in the third year, bringing the cost per home, per month to $15.86. Spring and/or fall clean-ups, to be scheduled by the municipality, are to be billed at a rate of $85 per truck hour plus $60 per ton disposal fee.

The council also approved having City Clerk Katie Becker fill an open seat on the Regional Housing Authority Board. The term for the unpaid position is three years and meetings are quarterly. Becker would be able to attend the meetings via Zoom, from her office in Lansing.

Becker said she was willing to fill the open seat, after learning that it had been open for some time and that, consequently, the Regional Housing Authority Board was considering its removal.

“We need to know what’s going on, and what they do have to offer,” Becker said. “It’s important and helps families. It’s another way to bring things to town that people obviously need.”

The Regional Housing Authority, housed by the Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC), is a Section 8 Housing Program and “is the major effort in assisting lower-income families to live in decent, safe and sanitary housing. This program provides assistance for low-income families in the private rental market through the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program” (

The council approved Resolution No. 960, accepting a Plat of Survey submitted by Stephen Casterton, Kenneth Becker and Denise Becker. The property is located within the corporate limits of the City of Lansing and includes five lots.

People’s Service Representative Duane Estebo reported that “a couple of significant [utility] locates” were done November 3 and 5. One was on the north end of Hickory for a duplex build; the other was up Mt. Ida Road for a new fiber optic line to one of the towers.
November 10, standing water left in the hydrant at the corner of Henry and North 2nd Street was pumped out. “This hydrant has been a problem for a while,” Estebo reported. “Hydrants are supposed to drain down after use and this one does not.” The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) has been consulted about “replacing it when they redo that road by the bridge,” Estebo said.

“We tried to pump out the sludge tank November 18,” Estebo reported. “The hydraulic pump that hooks to the backhoe didn’t work. It had blown the seals out of the motor and the pump. We then tried to use the smaller three-inch trash pumps. They weren’t big enough to handle the pumping. We had to postpone pumping until the new seals came in and the pump was repaired. I’m in the process of looking up options for a dedicated electric pump that would be mounted right on the sludge tank,” he noted.

Estebo said he met with WHKS Engineers to go over the Center Street project. “A couple days later their survey team came in to get specifics on distances and elevations and layouts,” he reported.