Lansing City Council to write letter of support for Upper Explorerland proposal to complete Vision Plan for Highway 9-Main Street corridor; UERPC to be fiscal agent on project

by Julie Berg-Raymond

The Lansing City Council has agreed to write a letter of support for Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission’s (UERPC) proposal to complete a Highway 9/Main Street Vision Plan for the City of Lansing, and to allow UERPC to be fiscal agent for the project.

The project/vision plan will be funded with a $20,000 grant, for which the City Council approved a $5,000 match earlier this year. The estimated total project cost is $25,325. The City of Lansing will not be billed over the maximum local match of $5,000.

The proposal, presented to the Council during its regular meeting on Monday, July 5, 2022, offers a general description of the project and the planning process: “The specific scope and deliverables will be identified in a project agreement to be entered into between the two parties. The physical area to be considered in the planning effort includes the Highway 9/Main Street corridor within the City of Lansing corporate limits, up to the landing/entrance to the Highway 9 Mississippi River bridge (however, not including the bridge structure itself). The ‘corridor’ includes the highway/street right-of-way itself as well as adjacent and/or connecting properties and public rights-of-way.”

“The planning process may include, but is not limited to: multiple meetings with City Council (and/or a steering committee to include some of all council members plus other stakeholders); development and implementation of a community survey; data gathering, analysis, and, potentially, collection; design and rendering services; geographic information systems (GIS) analysis and mapping; two or more community input meetings; document layout, drafting, and production; and a final community open house.”

“The end goal of the effort is to present a community-derived vision for the corridor, looking at specific intersections and other focus areas, and considering community and City input regarding such concerns as traffic safety, utilities, environmental impacts, historic preservation, and more. The final document will feature summaries of community input and relevant data, but the key focus (and hopefully, the plan’s strength), will be in its visual representations and renderings of potential intersection configurations/treatments, street cross-sections, community gateways, and more.”

Bridge lighting update
Council member Steve Murray reported to the Council that the lighting committee has chosen the second of two lighting options presented by Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc., of Stillwater, MN. The estimated cost of the project, with a 10 percent contingency for inflation, etc., is $399,850. Conduit and junction box costs account for about $132,000 of that total – which, per earlier agreement, will be paid for by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The lighting option chosen will allow for lights to change colors. For navigation purposes, barges will be able to shine a photo sensor on the lights, which will allow them to go dark for 20 minutes.

Continuing business
The Council is continuing to monitor progress on addressing issues identified in the agreed-upon procedures report on the City of Lansing, Iowa, for the period July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, released by Iowa Auditor of State Rob Sand on May 2, 2022. Council members Murray and Mike Manning are on the agenda for the next meeting of the Lansing Fire Department and will report back to the Council on what they learn about the initiation of a 28E agreement between the fire department and the city.

The Council will review, and decide whether to accept, a Computer Based Systems Policy and Disaster Recovery Plan presented by City Clerk Katie Becker in response to the agreed-upon procedures report.

Citizen concern
A complaint signed by twelve Lansing residents was presented to the Council regarding a resident at 650 S. 2nd Street. Specifically, the complaint involved the resident/squatter trespassing on neighbors’ property and rodents observed exiting the residence.

Mayor Melissa Hammell assured the concerned citizens that “things are in motion. We’re not forgetting that property, because we know you all are going through a lot.” She said the squatter at the property had been given notice a year ago to leave, and that the next step is to take the person to court. One of the problems, she said, involves uncertainty and an ongoing legal dispute regarding who actually owns the property. “We need to make sure that, first, the squatter is there without permission of the property owner; and second, we aren’t breaking any laws by taking action,” Mayor Hammell said. The mayor said she will keep in contact with the citizen who brought the complaint. “Things are happening,” she said. “They’re just not happening very fast right now, which is hard.”

In other business, the Council approved the following: Payment of $500 for fireworks (tourism) for the Fourth of July; the RAGBRAI committee’s request to paint the dip-site at the end of Main Street; and a driveway permit at 187 and 188 Hickory Lane.

The next regular meeting of the Lansing City Council is Monday, July 18, at 7 p.m., at the Lansing City Hall.