VINTON — Removal of the water slide at the Vinton swimming pool is going to take a little longer to get started.
Director Matt Boggess, Vinton Parks and Rec Department (VPRD), shared with city council members earlier in the year that a pool inspection recommended that the slide be removed because of safety issues. During that original discussion, Boggess explained staff had talked about putting a gate at the entrance of the ladder to keep visitors off the slide. Then once the summer season was over the slide would be removed.
However with the delay in the pool opening, Boggess reached out to get bids to remove the slide.
“Matt only got 1 bid,” Bud Maynard, Vinton mayor, told council members during last Thursday’s council meeting. “I’ve asked him to get some other competitive bids,” he explained. Members agreed it would be best to get other bids before starting the work.
At the meeting, Boggess also provided an update of the pool opening. He explained that the VPRD board would be meeting in coming days to make a decision about the pool opening. “With the news that Cedar Rapids will not be opening the pool we need to look at options. I would love for us to open and would like to set a goal of opening by mid June,” Boggess said. However, he expressed concerns that if the Vinton pool is open, while other larger municipal pools remain closed for the summer “we could have people from larger communities coming to Vinton.”
VPRD staff strive to make sure that “our kids remain safe at all times.
“I want to do what’s best for our kids and our community,” Boggess added. “If there are a number of restrictions and regulations that need to be followed, does it make sense for us to open the pool?”
As far as the department’s facilities, Boggess stated that everything will be closed until at least the end of the current month, per the State of Iowa’s guidelines.
For summer sports the department is waiting until the end of the month before making any formal decision. “We want to open the basketball and pickleball court and hope we will be able to open the playgrounds,” Boggess said. “The skating rink is still closed at this point.”
“We need to be responsible,” Maynard said.
With the discussion of opening city offices, Maynard asked Cindy Michael, Vinton city clerk, about opening city hall.
She explained that she had made a call about getting barriers installed in the city office, but that installation may not be completed until the beginning of the week.
“We encourage residents to do what they can online, but I don’t see why we can’t let people come in to conduct business if necessary,” Maynard said.
Chris Ward, city administrator, pointed out that while city hall may open in the coming days, the second May council meeting would not be at city hall. With regulations still limiting gatherings to 10 people, he was concerned that council members and city staff, reach that threshold before even allowing residents to be in attendance. “We may need to do a zoom meeting to allow public interaction,” Ward said.
“Maybe we could hold the meeting at the skating rink,” Maynard said. Boggess said that the VPRD board would be meeting at the rink in the coming days, so if necessary the council could also meet there.
In other business:
-Nathan Kass, Fehr-Graham, visited with council members about the consideration of getting some ‘shovel ready’ projects.
“It is purely speculation,” Kass said “but if there is any stimulus money designated for street projects, did the city want to look at getting something prepared.”
Kass reminded council members that there were two projects that had been discussed in the past that would benefit if there was government monies available.
In past budget sessions two projects, 1st Street from K Avenue to R Avenue and 8th Street from K Avenue to 8th Avenue had been discussed as needing to be completed.
Kass asked if the council would be interested in design work to get started, so if funds became available plans could be ready. However, if there are no stimulus dollars allocated, as there was in 2008-2009, the city would be able to use the plans in the future for the projects. “This is something that I wanted to bring up in case there is money available in the future,” he said.
Council members were reminded that the 1st Street project would be a complete reconstruction.
“When we talked about that project in the past, Maynard commented “Brian (Parr, council member) talked about visiting with the Benton County Board of Supervisors to share in the cost. Do we know if discussion happened?”
Ward said that he and Parr had not yet met with the supervisors. “Our last discussion about this street happened shortly before the shutdown so we have not actually spoken to the supervisors yet,” he told the council.
-The council took the final step in making an addition to the city’s urban renewal area during Thursday evening’s council.
The third consideration of the ordinance was approved to add the Braille School property to the current renewal area.
“This is the last piece to help the Hobarts move forward with the Braille School purchase,” Wardtold the council.
The Iowa Board of Regents approached the City of Vinton about purchasing the Braille School property for $1.00 a few years ago.
Before agreeing to the purchase, City officials spent nearly two years researching possible options to find other uses of the property. Jim and BJ Hobart presented a plan to the City for renovating current buildings and using the space west of the buildings for residential housing.
As part of the urban renewal area, monies called for taxes will be placed in a fund to help repay costs of indebtness related to the development of the area.
Maynard told the council that he hoped steps could be taken in the near future to get the next phase of the project started.