Marquette Council talks bench evacuation route

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The Marquette Council would still like to do more research and planning before moving forward with an emergency evacuation route off the “bench.”

The topic was discussed at the council’s June 21 meeting, during which engineer Bart Nies, with Delta 3 Engineering in Platteville, shared his idea for a potential route.

Nies suggested going off Walnut Street and ending at Eagle Drive in McGregor, which he said is more feasible than going up the bluff by the reservoir. He has no design plans for the trail yet, but said it would be roughly 12 to 14 feet wide and 4,000 feet long. It will incorporate routes that are already used for recreation.

“Some of the trail can be re-used,” he noted. “It’s in good shape and around 25 percent is pretty well graded.”

Nies mentioned completing stormwater control improvements on some ravines, as well.

He described the project as “pretty easy work,” adding that construction would likely take around four weeks.

If the city wants to save money, Nies said a survey should be performed this fall, when there’s less vegetation.

The city requested engineering bids for the project this spring and received three, ranging from $18,700 to $45,000. The council decided not to select a firm at its April meeting, though, feeling it should better determine the route and other components of the project.

“We need a definite plan so we can bid out the project again,” said mayor Larry Breuer at last week’s meeting, adding that he wants the process to be fair for all those involved. “We’re not all on the same page with the bids. We’re going to do more research and decide with a full council.”

Breuer expressed a desire to complete the project this fall.

Zoning change

Breuer said he recently met with the city’s zoning board about making a C-2 zoning change downtown. Zoning for the area currently says, if a home sits empty for 12 months, its lower level must then be used for commercial purposes, Breuer explained. 

“The zoning board felt a change was needed so houses can remain residential on the lower level,” he said.

New city manager

There was a new face at the front table for this meeting, with the arrival of Denise Schneider as city manager. She was also appointed clerk/treasurer.

The city hopes to fill a deputy clerk position shortly.

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