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At their regular meeting Monday, November 7, the Mount Ayr city council got a sneak peek at artist renderings of what a downtown revitalization project could look like.
Greg Roth, with the civil engineering firm of Veenstra and Kimm of West Des Moines, shared a number of options regarding the re imagining of the Mount Ayr square.
Sharing the results of recent resident surveys asking for input on the concept of downtown revitalization, Roth explained a consensus of respondents targeted maintaining and enhancing of the historic courthouse square was a top priority.
In response, Roth’s firm focused first on the streets and sidewalks surrounding the square.
Roth presented six options: maintaining and repairing the current gutter-to-gutter brick streets, replacing all bricks with concrete, and four different configurations combining bricks and concrete in unique patterns. (See graphic above.)
Roth said replacing all bricks with concrete would be the least expensive choice (@ $867,000 per city block) and maintaining all-brick streets would provide the most expensive choice (@ $1.5 million per city block). The alternative designs combining brick and concrete would fall somewhere in the middle.
Included in the options would be the widening of sidewalks around the perimeter of the square to allow for outside seating and/or dining.
Roth said the next step in the revitalization project would be to provide a public presentation of the project to gain residents’ preferences for the various options and designs.
To that end, the council decided to hold the presentation December 1 in conjunction with Ladies’ Night. From 4-7 p.m. that evening, the public is invited to inspect the artist’s renderings on display and vote for their preferences at a location to be determined later. Roth will present a short summary of the project at 5 p.m.
Following the gathering of the public’s input, Roth said the project could begin to identify financing avenues to match the scope of the project.
In a related decision, the council approved an engineering agreement with Veenstra and Kimm to design replacements of the sidewalks on both sides of E. Madison Street from Taylor to Polk streets. The existing sidewalks are uneven, especially on the south side, and pose a health hazard. The replacement sidewalks would be in compliance with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The project timeline includes seeking bids in the spring with completion in Summer 2023.
The agreement included an engineering fee not to exceed $33,800.
The council approved a resolution in support of a renewal of the Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOST)after the current tax expires in 2027.
The tax renewal proposition will appear on the ballot along with the proposal to allow the city to borrow up to $2 million to go towards a new swimming pool.
The referendum on both issues is set for March 2023.
City administrator Brent Wise explained the request for renewal of the LOST will require the support of other governmental agencies in the county until the support represents over 50 percent of the county’s population.
If both the renewal of the LOST funding and the borrowing authorization passes, 50 percent of LOST revenue would be added to funding for the pool project.
In other business, the council:
• approved the first reading and waived the second and third readings of the city ordinance pertaining to Solid Waste Collection fees.
• approved a flood management plan and authorized submission of the National Flood Insurance Program.
• approved the Affirmative Fair Housing Policy and Residential Antidisplacement and Relocation Assistance Plan.
• approved submission of the annual Urban Renewal Report for Fiscal Year 2022.