Kinser speaks to Optimists on upcoming city issues

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Morning Optimist Club Co-President Bing McHone welcomes City Administrator Jessica Kinser as the guest speaker at a recent club meeting. Kinser provided updates to several issues that currently concern the City of Marshalltown, such as use of local option sales tax funds, the police and fire department building and enhancing the features of the north side of the city.

The Marshalltown Morning Optimist Club held its weekly meeting Tuesday at The Brew House. Co-President Linda Moore opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of reflection.

Dorothy McHone reported that more flags will need to be built before the flag raising on Flag Day. Several members volunteered to meet to accomplish the task.

Ray Helland reported that the JOI club, the Optimist Bobcat Club, has completed two fundraisers including a bake sale and working a flag route. He added that a next step for them is to choose their Board of Directors.

Jackie Ingraham spoke for F & J Racing in thanking the Morning Optimists for placing flags at the softball park for the recent Blessing of the Bikes event. She reported hearing many comments about how beautiful the flags looked.

With her program chair hat on, Moore introduced Jessica Kinser, Marshalltown City administrator, as the guest speaker. Kinser began by stating that she has been in her current position for seven months, and she enjoys living in Marshalltown. Of her position, she reflected that she enjoys the day to day interaction with so many people.

Kinser summarized her background, including her Bachelor’s degree in English and political science and Master’s degree from Iowa State, after which she worked in Michigan, and in Iowa communities of Griswold and Clinton. She compared working in Clinton with working in Marshalltown, since both cities are of similar size with similar issues.

Kinser addressed several issues that are of current concern in Marshalltown. There will be a special election on Aug. 1 to ask citizens to approve a change in how local option sales tax funding will be used. Street and sewer projects will remain priority projects. Public information sessions will be in late June and July.

There are ongoing questions about the new police and fire department building, but Kinser said that she advises citizens to be patient. The Knights of Columbus Hall still needs to be demolished, but after asbestos abatement. The existing concrete parking lot will also need to be demolished.

The north side of town is also getting attention in order to make North Third Avenue more aesthetic, walkable and bikable, as well as to address transportation and zoning issues. The city is pursuing funding to address those issues.

Moore announced that there will be no meeting next week, since members will be putting out flags on Flag Day, June 14.

Moore closed the meeting by leading the recitation of the Optimist Creed. The Marshalltown Morning Optimist Club meets Tuesdays at 6:30 a.m. at The Brew House. Guests are welcome.