BRIDGEWATER — The Bridgewater city council started several projects over the last year but many of them are carrying over into 2021, explains mayor Roberta Carpenter.
Carpenter is one year into her first term as mayor. She said that as new council members also joined the group last January, there has been a learning curve to adjust to.
The group picked up an ordinance codification project that was already in progress and elected to enter into a contract with Iowa Codification to finish the project.
“This was something the previous council had tried to do on their own, trying to save a little money, but it proved to be an overwhelming undertaking,” said Carpenter. “The city entered into a contract with Iowa Codification and the process began, then came COVID. What should have been a six to nine month process is still ongoing, but as we all know, nothing has been easy during a pandemic.”
In the fall of 2019, the city had been notified of a FEMA grant they had been awarded to fix waterways and streets damaged by flooding. While ditch cleaning was done in 2019, the bulk of the work was completed last spring in the areas of Maple and 2nd Streets, West 3rd Street, 4th and Brown Streets, South Main Street, East 3rd Street, West Walnut Street and NE 5th Street with ditch cleaning and new culverts. Street work was completed by the end of the summer on West 1st Street, South Main Street and NE 5th Street.
“While the FEMA grant was a big start to improving the city’s infrastructure, the council knows that there is more to do,” Carpenter said. “We will continue to make improvements as money allows, creating a 5 to 7 year plan to complete these improvements.”
Set for this summer is the completion of improvements to the city park in Bridgewater.
“Thanks to private donations, grant money from the Empowering Adair County Foundation and the Schildberg Foundation, and donations from Bridgewater Betterment and Take Back Bridgewater, old playground equipment has been removed and new equipment purchased,” Carpenter said. “Again, COVID got in the way and slowed the process for completion.”
Carpenter said new shelters are also a part of the longer term plan for the city park once playground equipment is installed.
“With a new mayor and council members, there has been a lot of discussion and learning happening at regular meetings,” Carpenter said. “Compound that learning curve with the pandemic and trying to run meetings over a conference call or Zoom, or moving meetings to the community center where there is more room to social distance so townspeople can continue to attend and you have a huge learning curve to navigate.”