August 16, 2022

City awaits bids on Maple Street project

Creston city officials will know in the next month if the Maple Street water main project will match the budget associated with the proposed improvements.

The city council Tuesday approved a resolution to receive sealed bids on or before 2 p.m. Aug. 31 for the project, and set a public hearing at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 in the council chambers.

Creston Water Works has already approved $100,000 for the work. The city earlier approved to amend its Community Development Block Grant from $425,000 to $500,000 to cover additional costs. That request was approved by Iowa Economic Development Authority. The council learned in previous meetings that total estimated costs could be $700,000 or more.

Inflated prices for materials and limited labor for construction companies could influence bids, according to Austin Smith, an engineer from Garden and Associates, which designed the work.

“If it’s more than available funds, then Water Works could contribute more, or come to the council to request to use general fund money, or discuss what they want to do,” said Mike Taylor, city administrator. “Until we get the bids, we just don’t know.”

A development agreement between the City of Creston and Addam Wall of RANT, LLC, developers of Maple Street Apartments, is proposed to facilitate redevelopment of properties in the 100 block of North Maple Street. RANT plans to have retail and apartment space in the area under the name Agnew Lofts. Those buildings are the former Van Gelder clothing store and Agnew buildings.

Originally, the work was scheduled to begin shortly after the community’s Fourth of July celebration. In the revised schedule, engineers hope the project can begin in September. Bid specifications list the work to be finished in 60 days, with May 31, 2023, as the final completion date stated in the grant funding agreement.

Creston’s annual hot air balloon event is scheduled Sept. 16-18.

In other Council business:

• A public hearing was set for 6 p.m. Aug. 16 on the proposed contract documents and estimated costs for repair or improvements on the fencing and entrance road drainage improvements project at Creston Municipal Airport on Cherry Street Road.

“There’s an entrance road that enters the property by the hangars, and there are some drainage ditches near there,” Taylor said. “The FAA wants us to restrict some access in and out of the hangar area so we don’t have people driving all over the airport. A fence will be put along the entrance road with a gate that has a punch (entry) system for pilots and airport employees to get into the hangar area. We have a $5 million runway project starting soon and we’ve occasionally had people out there driving on the runway.”

Taylor said the airport will be closed from Aug. 15 until next May, with concrete work scheduled before freezing weather in hopes of opening the airport earlier in the spring than scheduled.

• The Council accepted the architecht’s Statment of Completion and final payment application for the uptown facade rehabilitation project. The final payment was $42,302 to Cornerstone Commercial Contractors. Also approved was the final drawdown of $28,539 from the $500,000 Community Development Block Grant. The project involved improvements to 11 buildings in uptown Creston.

• The Council approved temporary street closings requested by the Southwest Iowa Balloon Committee from 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16 through 10 p.m. Saturday Sept. 17. The closures are associated with the flea market on North Maple Street and with the

annual event and the parade route.

• Josh Knapp, 513 West Mills St., spoke to the council requesting two months worth of the sewer charge portion of utility bills at his residence to be forgiven because of inflated bills associated with a faulty water heater.

“I had a water heater go bad and I’m asking for the sewer charge to be removed from the excess bill,” Knapp said. “One month the bill was $484 and it was $1,418 the next month. The water went into the ground under my yard, it did not go into the sewer system. The water went through my system so I know I have to pay for the water. But it didn’t affect the sewer system.”

Mayor Gabe Carroll said no action could be taken since the matter was not on the agenda, but that he would discuss it with the council and get back to him.

• The council approved a request from Hot Air Brewing to close Maple Street from Montgomery to Mills streets from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, as the business will be hosting the Band of Iron Lions for a sword fighting event.

Larry Peterson

LARRY PETERSON

Former senior feature writer at Creston News Advertiser and columnist. Previous positions include sports editor for many years and assistant editor. Also a middle school basketball coach in Creston.