The City of Storm Lake has been on the trail of funding for several years to develop a pedestrian trail along North Lake Avenue, and with an opportunity presenting itself, the city council on Monday lost little time in cementing a plan to sink its goal into pavement
The council voted unanimously to pursue a matching-funds grant through Northwest Iowa Planning and Development's transportation enhancement program to install an eight-foot-wide pedestrian trail along the east side of the road from 10th Street to County Road C49.
Still, one veteran council member is somewhat annoyed that the city must bear the whole burden.
When Wal-Mart first decided to build a super-center store at the north edge of town, some members of the council felt that the company should be required to pay for sidewalk running to the area, council member Denny Vaudt said.
"We lost 3-2. I don't mind bringing it up now - it still bugs me."
It would cost an estimated quarter of a million dollars to built the pedestrian trail.
Currently, there are no sidewalks in the North Lake business area, making foot and bicycle traffic dangerous on the high-traffic thoroughfare with its four tight lanes.
There is enough right-of-way space to build the trail without having to displace any businesses, City Administrator Patti Moore said Monday.
"The city has been committed to this for several years - we've been trying to find the funding," said City Clerk Justin Yarosevich.
The city could find out if it is approved for the funding as soon as this March or April, but the funding would not be in hand until October, 2011.
The city staff proposes to do the project in two phases in order to get the project off the ground in the most timely manner - the first, highest priority section running from Plaza Mexico north to C49, adjacent to the Wal Mart plaza. A second phase would extend the trail south. Phase one is estimated at $130,000, with cost to the city at just over $33,000 plus the engineering fees if the matching funds are approved.
Phase one would be funded in part with federal dollars - up to 70 percent of the project cost or $77,000-plus.
The trail could lead to bigger things in the future. As a related project to the AWAYSIS development, local officials have discussed the potential for a major recreation trail system that might be aligned with Highway 71 running north out of Storm Lake toward the Iowa Great Lakes. No funding for that project has yet been announced.
Other city projects in the works:
* WEST LAKESHORE - Also Monday, the council set a hearing for a West Lakeshore Drive reconstruction project. It is anticipated that a hearing will be held March 3, with bid letting March 13. Project cost is estimated at $721,542 including engineering. A public information meeting on the project will be held February 25, starting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, and city officials encouraged property owners in the area to attend.
* WEST 5TH STREET - The council authorized an application for a 2012 Federal Aid Project to resurface West 5th Street from Vista Drive to Lake Avenue (for the city's fiscal year 2011-12.) The last asphault overlay was placed on the busy street in 1999. The project is estimated to cost over $700,000. If a request for a 50 percent federal match is successful, the city cost would be about $307,000.
* AWAYSIS DONOR MONUMENT - A donor monument has long been planned for the Project AWAYSIS lighthouse area. Plans call for the recognition monument to be placed in a high-traffic area near the entrance to the water park. It would cosist of two stone columns nearly five feet tall and three upright pre-cast tablets where the names of AWAYSIS donors would be placed. Brick pavers also with donor names would also be located in the area, and landscaping would be included. Materials would match the fire pit area of King's Pointe Lodge. Cost is estimated at about $22,000, and could be added to the Lighthouse contract. The city council approved the plan on Monday, and city development director Mike Wilson said he thinks such a project could be installed by mid-May or sooner.
PENALTY ON LODGE CONSTRUCTION - The city council approved a change order for $50,000 in liquidated damages to McHan Construction for not meeting a scheduled completion date on the King's Pointe project. Some areas were completed by the July 19 deadline, but the last area, the shoreline guest rooms, was not done until mid-October. The hotel was considered functional as of August 27 - 39 days late. The contractor has argued for a lesser deduction since the lodge was mostly completed shortly after deadline. The contract had allowed for a penalty up to $1,000 per day late. The $50,000 amount was reached through several weeks of negotiation, Wilson said.
The final contract for McHan is for just over $15 million, about $650,000 less than anticipated. A few minor warranty related items are being finished up, and the project is now considered complete.
COMMERCIAL DRIVEWAY REGULATIONS - The council waived a second reading and passed a third reading to add commercial and industrial approach regulations to its new building codes, correcting an oversight from when the codes were created and following similar requirements that had previously been in place. A 34-foot-wide maximum approach will be considered standard for businesses outside the central business district, but a larger drive area will be allowable under certain circumstances where traffic and safety issues dictate. There have been no protests to the proposal, and with Monday's vote, it becomes law.