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Neighborhood Revitalization Project

A former multiple family structure that had been abandoned was reduced to rubble Saturday, when volunteer firefighters with the Oelwein Fire Department burned it in a controlled training burn. Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation is interested in two lots at this location upon which a new home will be constructed.

 

OELWEIN — Third Ward City Councilman Charles Gerdts officially tendered his resignation, which was accepted, during online Council proceedings Monday night.

Gerdts began his four-year term in January this year, but a lucrative job advancement in the Quad Cities has caused him to put aside his civic duties in favor of career improvement.

Gerdts had made mention of his new job a few weeks ago on his Facebook page. In a recent interview with the Daily Register he said he was waiting to find out what his work schedule would be before officially giving his councilman’s resignation.

“When I first got serious about running for Council and being involved I didn’t know a lot about it. I realize now how much the city is really progressing,” he said, citing improvements in the Parks Department with trails, especially adding the northwest trail, along with four major road projects this year, the city’s sewer/water infrastructure and clearing out dilapidated structures to make space for new homes.

“To say the city is falling apart is inaccurate. Really, they’re making a lot of advances toward its future,” he said. “I think Council members are paying attention to what people are asking for the community. And I think everyone on the Council feels the same about the city’s potential.”

Gerdts said he hopes somebody in his Ward 3 steps up and contacts Mayor Brett Devore to express an interest in finishing out his term.

City Administrator Dylan Mulfinger clarified that the mayor makes the recommendation to Council, who then makes the appointment.

Work will begin soon on the city’s west water tower, which will undergo sandblasting, repair and repainting. The Council approved the low project bid from Maguire Iron, Inc., for $765,220. In the contract it is understood that if the tower has substantial issues within the tank, change orders will go to City Council for approval. Water infrastructure fees are paying for this project.

Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) postponed its plans to purchase the lot at 14 Second Ave. N.W. where an abandoned multi-family structure was burned down Saturday in a fire training controlled burn. NEICAC told the Council it wants to postpone the action to consider putting an additional 50-foot lot on the purchase plan. NEICAC plans to build a single-family home on the site as part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, to help with creation of affordable housing in Oelwein.

In other action, the Council approved replacing flood damaged flooring at the Oelwein Fire Department at a cost of $8,574. Mulfinger explained the storm and flood event on June 9, caused water in the basement at the fire station and floor tiles popped loose. An asbestos test came back positive, so that will need to be remediated before floor work can be completed.

The city already is working with an asbestos contractor on the residential home tear down project, and that contractor will handle the fire station asbestos in the floor. Mulfinger reported once the floor is ready, the proposed contractor will apply an epoxy finish to the floor designed for a meeting space. Insurance money will cover the cost.

An air-conditioning unit at the Police Department has failed and Council approved a replacement from Ken’s Electric, Inc., in the amount of $6,105.

Class C liquor, outdoor service and Sunday sales renewals were approved for Hacienda Del Rio, Inc., and Von Tuck’s Bier Haus dba Dave’s Place.

Mulfinger said the Council plans to return to social distancing meetings at the Oelwein Community Plaza for the Monday, July 27 meeting. If virus numbers continue to rise, the city will take guidance from the state level in determining the meeting format.

“We’re playing meetings by ear for now, and plan to be back at the Community Plaza for the July 27 meeting,” Mulfinger said.