The Oskaloosa City Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night at the Council Chambers in City Hall, and multiple reoccurring items were the theme.
There was a study session that began an hour before the meeting for Rohrback Associates to give the council a presentation on the new fire station addition and renovation. The presentation was complete with a model, a powerpoint with computer generated pictures of the interior and exterior, and a timeline for the project. The architects said there were no major changes since the last time they spoke with the council, but just wanted to give them an update. They hope to begin construction in the fall of this year, and hope to be completed with the entire project by August of 2016.
In the regular meeting, the council began by hearing public comments. RD Keep updated the council on the Oskaloosa Bark Park, which is now open in a limited capacity while the team finishes the construction and the addition of benches and other items around the park. Keep said he hopes for a full dedication to take place sometime in June.
The council also heard about the potential changes to the Downtown Farmer’s Market. The Market is moving to the square for both days, both Tuesdays and Saturdays, this year. The idea would be that it would be a more festive atmosphere, which would require a section of the west side of the square to be closed to traffic. There was no decision made regarding this topic at this time.
The council then jumped into the regular agenda, and unanimously approved the voluntary annexation of a few parcels of land by Carbonado Road, which will allow the city to get a grant to help repair a bridge and the road. The parcels are on the northeast side of town.
The next item involved installing sidewalks down both sides of Highway 92 from Casey’s and Community First Credit Union down to Gateway Church of the Nazarene and Wal-Mart. The estimated cost is $912,650 for both sides. The council unanimously approved adding the two sidewalks to the 6.2 million dollar Walk, Run, Ride Oskaloosa initiative that was discussed a few meetings ago.
In other business, City Manager Michael Schrock told the council that Hardee’s has pulled back their interest to build a new property and reopen a restaurant in Oskaloosa, claiming it is not financially possible for them to support that particular store. Schrock then urged two items for the council to think about: acquiring the old Hardee’s building, and still acquiring a spot next to KFC for future vendors.
The council discussed this at length, and agreed it was a good idea to acquire the old Hardee’s building to address its appearance along the corridor of A Ave. in the busy section of Oskaloosa. The council also thought it was a smart idea to complete the talks with JC Penney, Penn Central Mall, and the other involved parties to acquire the same space of land just west of KFC to make it a green space for the time being until a new opportunity comes along. Both items will be addressed in full to make official decisions at the next council meeting.
Next, City Manager Schrock needed to have the council receive and file his project list for May 2015. This passed on a 6-1 vote, with Council Member Jason Van Zetten voting against, saying there were too many mixed up priorities and there needed to be adjustments to the active list.
In the reports following the agenda, Schrock also stated that there was a bid of $30,000 to acquire the vacant lot adjacent to the liquor store on A Ave. East, and the council should think about listening to future bids regarding that piece of land.
Finally, the council went into a closed session to review the performance of City Manager Michael Schrock and address his contract. After discussion, the council voted to raise Schrock’s pay to $125,000 per year and award him a $4,000 bonus.
The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council is scheduled for June 1 at 6 PM at City Hall in Oskaloosa.
Photo Courtesy of Bob Ballard