Streetscape, Beach proposals get updates but not votes

Article Image

Posted April 18, 2019

OTTUMWA — Most items brought to the city council during its formal meetings include a vote. Two big ones from Tuesday night didn’t.

City staff briefed council members on the planned streetscape project and a set of possible additions to the final renovations at the Beach, but didn’t ask members to make a decision on either. The streetscape is a major project that, as currently planned, will dramatically alter several blocks of East Main Street.

While most of the attention has focused on the reconstruction of the 100 through 300 blocks of East Main Street and the creation of more pedestrian-friendly landscapes, Public Works Director Larry Seals said significant work will be out of sight.

“The project will include replacement of sanitary sewer lines and sewer laterals. In addition, new water mains and service lines will be installed during the project,” he said.

Seals told the council there are still some details being worked out with those issues, specifically with the water connections. There are also some questions remaining about the cost of specific work within the overall project.

“Some of the bid items are higher than we anticipated, so we need to work those out,” Seals said.

City Engineer Dwight Dohlman asked the council to consider a set of four possible improvements at the Beach as additions to the final phase of restorations. The city has put a considerable amount of work into catching up with maintenance and repair work over the past several years, turning the Beach into a work zone during the past three offseasons.

Dohlman said the proposals are “a little bit outside the scope” of what the city previously approved, but would add some value. He proposed reconstruction of the sand volleyball court, which would remove contaminated sand and improve the court, installation of new shades for visitors, a portable storage building to relieve the current, cramped, storage and installation of a dedication plaque.

Council members Marc Roe and Holly Berg both asked about the volleyball court and how Dohlman proposed to keep new sand from being contaminated by contact with the underlying soil. Dohlman said special fabric would provide a barrier. The city also has equipment to keep the sand clean.

The shade structures, which include umbrellas, sail-shaped covers and a large shade over the platform at the deep end of the wave pool, also drew questions about their durability and whether summer storms would pose a threat.

Dohlman said he had similar questions when initially looking at the options. “There’s a mechanism that allows them to be taken out fairly easily,” he said.