Lansing City Council considers Main Street Lansing request for an increase in funding, approves budget amendment

by Julie Berg-Raymond

During its regular meeting Monday, November 7, Main Street Lansing (MSL) Executive Director Andy Kelleher requested that the Lansing City Council increase its investment in MSL from $10,000 to $20,000 per fiscal year.

Kelleher noted that 2016 was the last time the City of Lansing had increased its investment in Main Street Lansing - eight fiscal years ago. “Lansing’s economy has grown significantly since 2016,” Kelleher said. “The efforts of Main Street Lansing are responsible for much of that growth.”

Kelleher offered a presentation outlining the ways in which MSL has contributed to the city’s economic growth and explained why an increased investment on the part of the City would benefit Lansing. Following a brief discussion, the council postponed making a decision until its January 16, 2023 meeting.

After a public hearing on Amendment No. 1 to the current budget was held without comment, the council approved Resolution No. 978 Amendment No. 1 to the FY23 budget.

Responding to the council’s recent decision - announced on the evening’s meeting agenda - to limit citizen concern comments to two-minute time frames, a meeting attendee asked the council, “Is it your intention to deter the public from coming in?” Mayor Melissa Hammell assured the attendee that was not the case, saying, “Sometimes audience discussions get carried away. If (a matter) is of concern, it should be (put) on the agenda.”

Aaron Detter, senior transportation planner with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, addressed the council regarding the Highway 9 Main Street corridor project. Over the next year or so, Detter said, he will be working with the Lansing community to create a vision plan for that project.

“The process will involve multiple opportunities for community members to give input and participate in different ways,” Detter said in an email following the meeting. “The end result will be a community-derived vision for what Lansing wants its Main Street to be and look like in the future.” Detter and the council will initiate the planning process with a council work session after the first of the new year.

The council approved weather-proofing, preserving, and semi-permanently affixing the Iowa Love art piece to the City building on the corner of Main Street and Front Street, near the information kiosk. In a presentation about the project, Andrew Boddicker noted that all funding - $525 - has been secured through donations from local residents.

Boddicker’s presentation described the installment plan: 1) remove temporary installment of artwork; 2) coat artwork with polyurethane; 3) install three, 2x1 boards width-wise on concrete wall using concrete anchor screws; 4) install artwork on boards using wood screws; 5) drill holes into acrylic sheets, aligned with boards behind the artwork, install and secure pre-cut acrylic plexiglass sheets; 6) install plaque next to artwork using concrete anchor screws.

In his presentation, Boddicker included a print-out of the language that will be included on the plaque that will be applied next to the artwork: “Artwork by Laura Gentry. This public art piece welcomed the more than 18,000 cyclists who completed the 435-mile journey across Iowa during the 49th annual RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) July 30, 2022. People from all 50 states and more than 20 countries spent a week pedaling over rolling hills, through picturesque towns and past lush fields. The Lansing RAGBRAI 2022 organization funded the supplies for the work, and local pastor and artist Laura Gentry designed and painted it. The eye-catching art serves as a remembrance of this inspiring event and a tribute to our great city. Installed July 30th, 2022.”

Boddicker also included a maintenance plan in his presentation about the art piece, which stipulates the following: 1) the installment will be monitored by artist Laura Gentry and resident Andrew Boddicker for cleanliness and any signs of damage or decay; 2) the City will have access to the area without any trouble in mowing or weed eating due to the artwork being adhered closely to the wall; 3) at any time, due to damage, vandalism, or the artwork becoming unappealing or irrelevant, the City can ask the artwork be removed by the above named individuals; 4) at time of removal, screw holes will need to be filled in with a hydraulic cement mix to prevent moisture from going into the cement brick; 5) Andrew Boddicker and Laura Gentry will volunteer the labor of installing the artwork. This installment plan will need to be monitored and managed by the Streets Department for quality assurance.

In other business, the council approved liquor license renewals for Coffee on the River and Milty’s; postponed until the March 6 meeting the setting of a schedule for leaf pick-up; and approved MyBlue HDHP Silver HSA (deductible-single, $4500; deductible-family, $9000) health insurance and Enhanced 10/10 Contributory Delta Vision insurance. The next regular meeting of the Lansing City Council is scheduled for Monday, November 21 at 7 p.m. at Lansing City Hall.