Feds: $500k for AWAYSIS

Monday, July 24, 2006

41 trees saved, path fenced off, the lodge floor is ready to pour

Work on King's Pointe development is moving along rapidly this week, even as the city fields the welcome news of a potential half-million-dollar windfall in federal funding.

According to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the $500,000 for Project AWAYSIS was successfully included in the latest Congressional appropriations bill. The bill still must be approved and signed by the president.

The money would not be available to the city until next year, but would be unrestricted to use as the city sees fit on the lakefront project.

"It absolutely does help. There's light at the end of the tunnel," City Administrator Patti Moore said of the funding news. "We want to thank Senator Grassley and his staff - these funds are only included in the bill because he stepped up and asked for it."

New security fence has been installed at the King's Pointe site, extending to the waterline on both the east and the west edge of the project. The change is needed to protect the safety of citizens and to safeguard the contractors' equipment on the site.

An informal walking path had developed behind the project, on the shoreline, which is now closed off. People could simply step over a silt fence and be in the construction zone, city director for Project AWAYSIS Mike Wilson said.

"We're sorry for the inconvenience this causes," Wilson said, noting especially concern that some bike traffic may be rerouted onto busy E. Lakeshore Drive for a short distance. "We have no option. We really do need to secure the site for the safety of all concerned."

The LakeTrail recreation path should be reopened in the spring.

Concrete is the word of the moment on the construction site.

Workers are starting to pour the floor of the Lazy River tube channel for the outdoor waterpark, and getting ready to begin pouring the floor of the east end of the lodge hotel, likely to happen next week.

All the underfloor plumbing for the lodge is now installed, and work on the outdoor pool is progressing.

Water slides are expected to arrive around mid-September, and the preformed walls for the lodge could begin to arrive in about a month.

"The contractors feel that they are on schedule," Wilson said. "They tell us it will be enclosed by mid-October and while it seems almost impossible to those of us who are not in that business, they are telling us it is going to happen."

Work on the redesign of the golf course teed off in earnest this week. Forty-one trees were salvaged to be replanted elsewhere, and grading has started for the new fairways to the south. Work on a new green area is underway.

Workers on Thursday and Friday moved some large evergreens that were once around the pool area, and planted them around the golf course cart buildings. They will soften the view and help control wind.

Work on the filter building continues. It will eventually be covered and will be just below grade at the area where the lodge and indoor waterpark join.

The more the project progresses, the more interest there is.

"People seem to be getting excited. As they can see some of the pieces start to take shape, it starts to make sense," Wilson said. "It helps to have the road reopened and the parking lots in place at the golf course, so people can get through there now and see what is happening a little better."

He was speaking to one of the cement truck drivers about the long wait for the underground and foundation work to get completed so buildings can begin to spring up.

"All that underground stuff has to be just right, or you would really have problems later," the man replied. "If it takes a little more time to do that right, you are smart to take that time."

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