FD City Council considers aquatic center painting work

The Fort Dodge City Council voted unanimously to approve a $73,075 contract for repainting at the Rosedale Rapids Aquatic Center Monday.

This is two years earlier than expected, said Fort Dodge resident Jim Koll. He asked the council why it was necessary to paint now, and if there had been something wrong with the initial paint job.

On pools in Iowa, paint lasts between one and six years, said Lori Branderhorst, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. She said that some pools sandblast and repaint every year.

Mayor Matt Bemrich said the hardness of Fort Dodge water, and the chlorine levels due to high use, all make a difference.

“It was scheduled for the 2015 budget. But when we do our capital improvement planning, we put placeholders in each year for projects, not knowing exactly when we’re going to need it,” Branderhorst said.

This painting will come out of the capital fund, she added, not general city money.

“It’s that 15 cents that’s taken out of every dollar that’s been collected at Rosedale. It’s sitting in an account for all of our maintenance, any repairs, painting, slide restoration, if we need to replace ladders, we’ve had a couple of pumps that have gone out,” she said.

The council also held a public hearing regarding Expo Park. Branderhorst said the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission had voted to recommend to demolish the unused pool on that site and all the buildings, and create a low-maintenance park.

The neighbors held a meeting in June, she said, where they said universally that they want the land to go back to being a public park.

Branderhorst said they have rejected a plan to only demolish part of the pool and fill it in. Instead they will completely remove the structure.

Expo Pool, which opened in 1982 on the site of a previous pool, closed in 2009. It was replaced the following year with the aquatic center at North 32nd Street and 10th Avenue North.

“It will be low-maintenance parkland, because there is no money budgeted to develop that park,” Branderhorst said.

The Rec master plan doesn’t call for any new parks, she added. It calls for reducing the number of “pocket parks,” and getting rid of one park if you bring in another new one.

“Restoring it to a park is not the prime thing to do, because it’s not in our master plan, but I think right now it’s logical thing to do,” she said. “We’ll grade it. It won’t be a flat grade, we’ll try to put some berms in it, add some aesthetics to it, and we’ll try to work on some things like adopt-a-park with it, maybe some flower gardens, there’s a lot of nice fun things that were talked about that wouldn’t take a lot of money if we had the private groups do it.”

In other business:

  • Greg Koch, public works director, gave a brief workshop on the new garbage containers and recycling containers in the city’s new refuse collection system. Bags and bins will be replaced with 96-gallon containers provided by the city. One will be for trash. Recycling materials, which will not have to be sorted, will go in the other one. Those bins will be picked up by new trucks that will lift and empty them with mechanical arms.

Koch said both bins will be the same color, but recycling will have blue lids and garbage will have green lids.

There were some questions about whether smaller bins should be offered, Koch said. But smaller ones would not fit into tight spaces that much better, he said, and would make administration of the system more difficult.

  • The city of Fort Dodge will purchase property next to Veterans Bridge in order to move forward with the East Region Storm Sewer project.

The council voted unanimously to buy 3.65 acres of vacant land from Ogden Newspapers for $290,000.

The land, located north of First Avenue South, will be used for a large detention basin and pumping station which will hold water and hopefully limit flooding in the First Avenue South and South 23rd Street area.

Councilman Don Wilson asked for more specifics on the plan.

“We’re paying $290,000 for about 3 1/2 acres of land, and I would like to understand how we justify this,” Wilson said.

Vickie Reeck, with the business affairs and community growth department, said the price was based on an appraisal that looked at two other properties in Fort Dodge and three outside Fort Dodge. The city then negotiated with the property owner to reach this price.

Wilson asked if other locations for the detention basin had been considered, and what the cost would be. Reeck said this option was cheaper than other plans looked at by Snyder & Associates, the company hired in June to create the preliminary plan for the project.

Some other options that were considered weren’t possible because property owners there weren’t willing to sell, said council member Mark Taylor.

“I agree that it’s very costly, but this is a $9 million project,” said Councilman Dave Flattery. “That’s what the market is, when you deal with these types of transactions.”

Ogden Newspapers has been a good corporate citizen, said Bemrich, allowing the city to store snow on that land for many years.

“This is a key part of the East Region Project, which was put ahead of the crosstown connector because this was more important,” Bemrich said.

Bids for this project are currently being accepted, and a public hearing on the project is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Oct. 14.