FD council acts on garage

Fort Dodge City Council members voted Monday to spend about $1,250 to shore up a privately owned garage so that it will not collapse during the reconstruction of part of Sixth Avenue Northwest.

The garage, owned by Don Woodman of 526 Second St. N.W., is at the bottom of the hill where Sixth Avenue Northwest and Second Street Northwest intersect. According to City Manager David Fierke, it is 2 1/2 feet over the property line and into the public right of way.

Fierke said there is some concern about what could happen to the garage when the street project begins. He recommended going ahead with the project and working with Woodman to shore up the structure.

”We don’t need the issue of the city knocking over private property,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said. ”I think for sure we have to shore this thing up because we can’t be responsible for a garage falling down.”

Councilman Dave Flattery said that a retaining wall estimated to cost $45,000 will be built as part of the street project to protect the garage.

”It just doesn’t make sense to me that we’re going to spend $45,000 to protect a garage that looks like it’s going to fall down,” he said.

However, Flattery joined the other six council members in a unanimous vote to shore up the garage and obtain a temporary construction easement so that a contractor can go onto Woodman’s property to do the work.

Councilmen Mark Taylor and Don Wilson volunteered to help Woodman repair his garage after the project is done.

After the meeting, Bemrich said the council’s action means that public money will be spent to put supports in place to prevent the garage from collapsing during the road project.

In a report to the council, Fierke wrote that the cost of doing that work was estimated at $1,250.

In other business, the council gave preliminary approval to a plan that would make it easier for a downtown business to set up a sidewalk cafe or outdoor retail sales area. Under the proposal, the business would have to meet some requirements and get a permit from the city staff. Now, businesses wanting to set up such an area must get approval from the city’s Board of Adjustment. The change must be approved two more times to become law.

Also, the council approved the second reading of a measure establishing the 2013 Consolidated Urban Revitalization Area. That measure provides property tax incentives for the construction of new housing and significant rehabilitation work on existing housing. It also includes incentives for commercial and industrial development.

The incentives enable a property owner to forgo paying the property tax on a portion of a home’s value for up to five years or gradually phase in the new tax burden over a decade.

The plan must be approved once more to become law.

In an unrelated matter, the council hired Devin Schipper as a firefighter. He has experience as a volunteer firefighter in Le Mars and Spencer and is now earning a fire science degree at Iowa Central Community College.