DOT proposes ‘road diet’ for North 3rd Avenue

Marshalltonians may have to get by with three lanes instead of four on North Third Avenue.

Tony Gustafson of the Iowa Department of Transportation in Ames told the city council meeting Monday night the agency is planning to reduce the four lanes to three due to traffic. North Third Avenue also doubles as Highway 14. A consultant may be engaged to provide further analysis. Gustafson said it was feasible construction could be begin in 2018 or 2019, all contingent upon funding.

Gustafson cited Iowa Avenue West (formerly old Highway 30) and other streets in Marshalltown where four lanes had been reduced to three.

Second ward councilman Joel Greer asked Gustafson to take into consideration heavy semi traffic heading west from JBS and turning left from Marion Street onto North Third Avenue.

“Because of the tight turn, the semi’s frequently go into the far lane,” he said. “I receive more calls about that intersection than any other.”

At-large councilman Bill Martin told Gustafson Highway 14 is need of significant repair.

Additionally, at-large councilman Leon Lamer suggested to Gustafson IDOT be prepared to eliminate concrete islands on East Anson Street, which also doubles as Highway 14, as drivers turn at the Hy-Vee intersection.

“If the joint police-fire building referendum is passed fire trucks will need as much access as possible,” he said.

If voters approve, the facility would be constructed at the “old” EconoFoods site, 909 S. Second St., near the intersection of South Second Street and East Anson Street.

Marshalltown voters will go the polls Aug. 2 to decide the fate of the $17.5 million referendum. The $17.5 million is a not to exceed figure, meaning the city can not borrow more on the project. Competitive bidding could make all facets of the project cost significantly less.

PD/FD building tax impact

Finance director Diana Steiner reported estimates of how much a homeowner’s property tax bill will increase annually if the full $17.5 million is issued and secondly, the estimated interest rate is 3.95 percent.

“Until the bids are opened,we do not know the exact amount to use for the interest rate,” she said. “Based on prior bond issuances, we are hoping for lower interest rates.”

Steiner gave examples: A property assessed at $50,000, with an estimated taxable value of .556259 is $27,812.95. If the project is approved, the annual tax estimate at $1.59 per $1,000 is $44.22. The monthly tax is $3.69.

A property assessed at $175,000, with a similar estimated taxable value at .556259 is $97,345.33. The annual tax estimate of $1.59 per $1,000 is $154.78, or $12.90 monthly.

Lamer commended Steiner for preparing the figures in a timely manner and promptly responding to many resident inquiries. Steiner’s complete analysis will be published in the June 29 edition of the Times-Republican.

Mosquito spraying

Public Works Director Justin Nickel said city will spray for mosquitoes Monday night and tonight.

“Monarchs and Milkweed for Marshalltown”

Parks & Recreation director Anne Selness reported on two new programs being planned for late summer and fall. “Monarchs and Milkweed for Marshalltown” proposes motivating kids and adults to plant milkweed and other pollinator plants in their gardens and possibly in a new butterfly garden somewhere in the city to help increase the number of monarch butterflies. Activities would include tagging monarchs and learning how once can count and monitor Marshalltown’s butterflies.

Another is “Swim, Bike & Hike for Community Art program.” Program participants can swim laps and water walk in area pools, or bike and hike along recreational trails to achieve new fitness goals. As milestones are reached, a wooden mural block piece will be awarded in a color equating to number of laps swam, miles water walked or miles biked or hiked. As people complete their designated goals and colored pieces are obtained, they will be placed into a large community mural. Different colored pieces will indicate higher levels of achievement with perhaps the center piece being placed by the person reaching the highest fitness level. All participants will be able to achieve at least one piece and contribute.

“This program will connect kids and adults with art and nature and get families out into our parks and using our recreational trails.” Sellness said.

In other action

– Mayor Lowrance expressed condolences to family of the late Bob Beard of Marshalltown who passed away recently. He cited Beard’s many years of work with Parks & Recreation in co-managing the annual Special Olympics event.

“Special Olympics attracted 200 athletes and their families,” said Lowrance. “Bob did an outstanding job helping coordinate the event. He will leave big shoes to fill.”

– Martin complimented Parks & Recreation for the appearance of the aquatic center and Riverview Park, especially numerous flower beds at the park which contain 8,000 flowers.

“I recommend residents take advantage of our city parks,” he said.

– Heard a report from Marshalltown Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Val Ruff. She reviewed C&VB history, dating back to its inception April, 1991. Additionally, the organization, which is under the umbrella of the Marshalltown Area Partnership, has added five new board members. Fourth ward councilman Al Hoop represents the city on the board. Ruff said Marshall County ranks 16 of 99 counties statewide in tourism revenue.

The next regular meeting of the city council is 5:30 p.m., July 11, in council chambers, Carnegie Building, 10 W. S. State St. For more information, contact 641-754-5701, or visit ci.marshalltown.ia.us.

Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com.