Waukon City Manager Gary Boden provides updates on variety of matters, including opportunity for public input regarding Park & Recreation future

Improvements needed on City Hall entrance platform ... The business entrance platform toward the rear of Waukon City Hall will be in need of an upgrade in the near future. Surrounding photos show the eroding away of the concrete platform and the corrosion of the metal hardware securing the platform’s railings and roof support at that entrance, with that platform having been in place for many, many years. Standard photos by Joe Moses.

by Joe Moses

Waukon City Manager Gary Boden recently met with The Standard to provide an update relating to ongoing projects and a variety of other matters relating to the City of Waukon.

The discussion with Boden began with an update relating to the water retention/wetland area north of the Waukon City Park along 2nd Street SW. That project is one of six projects near the City Park and the new Pladsen Subdivision included as part of the Storm Water Quality Improvement Project, which is a side benefit of the funding associated with the new Wastewater Treatment Plant, a project mandated by the State of Iowa.

As discussed in Boden’s update to The Standard in July 2022 that included additional feedback from Engineer Paige Pierce of Fehr Graham Engineering, these six projects are being funded as a State Revolving Fund (SRF) Sponsored Project in addition to grants through the Water Quality Initiative Fund and Water Infrastructure Fund, with the City of Waukon having $1.25 million dollars of overall funding available for these projects but the City being responsible for less than two percent (approximately $60,000) of the actual project cost. As part of that conversation in July, Boden provided an overview of the Wastewater Treatment Plant financing which included $10 million initially with an additional $1.85 million necessary to close out the project. The two-percent in interest spent in financing the Wastewater Treatment Plant is eligible to be rolled back into sponsored projects that were reviewed and accepted by the State of Iowa, including the water retention/wetland area.

In Boden’s recent update, he advised that the excavation associated with the water retention/wetland area is complete with the exception of a couple of intakes yet to be installed which are currently on back-order. Boden added that some plantings are taking place as a temporary measure to stabilize the base layer of soil with permanent plantings to take place next year.

Boden advised that dirt moving not related to the water retention/wetland area is taking place within the City Park and the Pladsen Subdivision, including the movement of some soil from the commercial portion of the Pladsen Subdivision to the five-acre area being developed for future apartments in addition to the grading necessary in establishing the street to provide access to this area which will also connect 2nd Street SW and Rossville Road.

Boden transitioned into discussion of repair work to be performed at Waukon City Hall relating to the replacement of two doors at the north entrance, the concrete pad under the porte cochere (the covered porch-like structure at the north City Hall entrance), the concrete stairway leading to the parking area located behind the City Hall building, in addition to the replacement of the porte cochere canopy. Boden discussed the deterioration of the concrete stairway leading to the parking area and the deterioration of the concrete pad supporting the canopy which covers the walkway into the north entrance of City Hall.

Boden advised that the interior and exterior door replacements will be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant push-button activated automatic doors and that the canopy will be extended to cover the stairway leading to the parking area. He noted that American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding will be used for this project. A Notice of Public Bidding relating to this project was published on page 23 in the Wednesday, August 31, 2022 edition of The Standard with sealed bids and construction plans from contractors due by noon Friday, September 16, 2022.

Street projects were next addressed by Boden with his discussion of ongoing work relating to 2nd Avenue NW. Boden noted that curbs on 2nd Avenue NW, just north of the Allamakee County Courthouse, are being hand poured and formed due to a curb machine not being available.

Boden discussed the next phase of street repairs to include the intersection of 2nd Street NW and 8th Avenue NW, which will involve poured concrete with half of the intersection to be poured at a time allowing for one-lane traffic during this process. Boden advised that next year, the 4th Street SW and 8th Avenue NW intersection will be handled similarly as part of the 4th Street NW project to include three blocks of work, which he described as costing more due to the underground work involving storm sewer and sanitary sewer.

Boden also discussed the Street Department Garage which is being scheduled for replacement in the next few years. He advised that $800,000 has been committed thus far to the Street Department Garage project and that an architect will likely be engaged before the end of the calendar year to develop a design and cost estimate.

Boden noted that a referendum will be necessary to authorize the use of Local Option Sales Tax (LOST), with that referendum likely to take place next year which would, in turn, go into effect the following year. With that timetable, Boden explained that designs and a location for the garage would be determined with the bidding process likely to begin before the end of 2024 and construction taking place in 2025.

Boden added that the funding sources for this project will not require a tax increase or impact tax payers in any way. He advised that these funding sources will include LOST, ARP and a prior bond issue, in addition to $100,000 in total from the General Fund over a two-year period.

Boden briefly discussed the fiber optic installation scheduled for Waukon, which he advised will begin in September to include a west portion of Waukon and downtown to Rossville Road and the Pladsen Subdivision with service being hooked up in the spring. Boden discussed the survey and grant work through Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative that is taking place and the role of West Union Trenching in the installation work being performed.

Boden provided an update relating to the Waukon City Park clean-up project. He discussed the tremendous response from volunteers and City workers in cleaning up tree and storm damage in the City Park that occurred in late July. Boden explained that the City has a $10,000 insurance deductible with up to $60,000 potentially being available through insurance coverage. He advised that he is confident that the insurance settlement will be able to cover most, if not all, of the costs associated with the storm-related damage in the City Park.

Boden noted that the City has engaged the services of MSA Professional Services relating to park planning and community research. He explained that the City of Waukon will be working with MSA’s Dubuque office with this company also operating offices elsewhere in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.

Boden said that MSA will be providing survey and research services relating to Park and Recreation programming needs in addition to providing recommendations relating to trails and physical structures including bike and pedestrian paths, athletic fields, among other areas. He anticipates MSA’s work to begin in September with completion in March or April of 2023.

Boden noted that there will be opportunities to gather feedback from the public at various open house style meetings yet to be scheduled. He discussed the importance of hearing from the public relating to park and recreation programming and physical trails and structures while making this process as inclusive as possible in bringing the entire community into this decision process.