The sale of some city-owned property near the west side of McKinley Lake may result in the construction of a decorative pond after the Creston City Council held its first public hearing on the matter during Tuesday evening’s regular meeting.
Specifically, lots 91 and 92, except the east 10 feet of the Auditor’s Plat of the NW 1/4 of Section 11, Township 72, Range 31 are up for potential sale.
Michael Tamerius, who was present at and spoke during the hearing on his offer, offered to purchase the lots for $250 each. He also wants to build a decorative pond and construct a walking path utilizing the clay he’ll dig up from the bottom of the pond. He estimates the improvements, to be funded by himself as a donation to the city, will total around $15,000.
“It’s something I’ve thought about and talked about for a number of years,” said Tamerius, “but it’s just this year it happened to be finally dry enough to actually do something.”
John Kawa, chairman of the Creston Parks and Rec Board, was also present during the hearing, and addressed the board with regards to the sale.
According to Kawa, Tamerius approached the Parks and Rec Board on Oct. 24 and offered to build a decorative pond.
“It’s what we always wanted to do to control retention going into the lake,” said Kawa. “Similar to what we did on the north side of Adams Street. But we have no money — as normal — so we couldn’t do this. But then Mike (Tamerius) came up with the idea, and we thought it would be nothing but great.”
The Parks and Rec Board approved the concept, and ensured there would be no extra Iowa DNR requirements for the pond construction during its Nov. 14 meeting, though the city council has the final say in approving the sale of the property.
“So as a Parks and Rec Board we have approved this, and it would be nothing but good for the park,” said Kawa. “And I would hate to go back on what we approved. As a Park Board, we feel it’s a done deal.”
Also writing-in a comment to the hearing and writing to City Administrator Mike Taylor, was Timothy Ostroski, who made a purchase offer to city for the same two lots.
Ostroski offered $2,500 to the city for each lot, and would “commit to build an attractive water retention pond on the properties as agreed to by negotiation.”
He stated in his letter that he would also commit to a 10 foot wide easement for a future walking trail to be built along Spillway Road, and would agree to be responsible for all costs and fees associated with the project, including legal fees.
Ostroski also stated he would like to construct a single-family dwelling, and cited improving the tax-base of the city as an added positive. He stated he would hope to complete the project before the end of 2018.
“This action (selling the lots to Tamerius) would be premature, pending the acceptance by the city of my offer to acquire the property,” wrote Ostroski. “Also, without a vision, depiction or understanding of the design of the decorative pond, this action is not within the best interest of the city or the environment of McKinley Lake. ... I believe that my offer of 10 times the amount identified in the public notice should be considered. I am hopeful that the council will see the wisdom of receiving a larger amount of money and achieving the exact same outcome.”
A public hearing is set for the next Creston City Council meeting on Dec. 19 for the purpose of accepting public comment on Ostroski’s offer.
In other city council news:
• Nineteen airpack units were approved to be purchased by the Creston Fire Department. Ninety-five percent of the cost of the airpack units will be funded by a Firefighter Grant.
• A VFA grant of $3,500 was accepted on behalf of the Creston Fire Department.
• As part of a budgeted cost increase, the amount provided by the city to the Recreation Wing of the Arts & Wellness Center was increased by $19,000 to $21,000 for maintenance purposes.
• A bid was accepted for the demolishing of some city-owned property located at 401 N. Birch St. by C & J Conservation for $8,500.