Century-old Monona bandstand in need of repairs

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

One hundred years old this year, Monona’s bandstand, located in the city park, is showing signs of its age and in need of some repairs.

Elmer Marting, with the Monona Historical Society, pinpointed some of the needed fixes at the Monona Council’s July 11 meeting. Most notable, he said, is a large crack in the center of the floor inside the bandstand. A lot of young kids play on the bandstand, and he doesn’t want any of them to get hurt, he noted, suggesting the city make a quick fix to cover it before a new concrete floor could be constructed.

The roof of the octagonally-shaped structure is also in need of shingles, Marting said.

“We want something that will last,” he quipped.

In addition, the bandstand ceiling needs to be repainted and the block foundation repaired.

City administrator Dan Canton said he’s contacted a stonemason to look at the foundation. The stonemason doesn’t think the stonework will be a tough job, Canton said, noting that he felt it should be redone so all of the stone is the same.

Marting said the Monona Historical Society, as well as the Clayton County Historic Preservation Commission, are willing to help with the project.

“It’s very important to us that the bandstand continues,” he said. 

The Monona Historical Society will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, and Marting said they would like to celebrate in the park, with the bandstand as its focal point.

However, neither the historical society nor the city has the funds to completely cover the project costs.

“The city shouldn’t bear all the costs. We’re full of recommendations and opinions, but low on money,” said councilman John Elledge, who suggested getting other volunteer groups around the community involved to help raise some funds.

“We need to get the community involved with an ice cream social or fundraiser,” added mayor Barb Collins.

Hotel feasibility study

The council reviewed several proposals from companies to perform a hotel feasibility study for the community, but chose not to consider making a selection until learning if some potential investors would be willing to contribute funds toward a study.

Canton said a chamber committee looked into the idea of a hotel in Monona a few years ago, but did not perform a study. They just looked for investors, he said.

If the city decides to complete a study, Canton said there would be two phases of research, with the first costing $3,000.

“They’ll start the initial research, and if they find it won’t work, they’ll cut bait,” he said.

The city would only pay for the second phase of research, previously estimated around $3,500, if the outcome looked promising.

The city began discussing the hotel feasibility study in June, after being approached by a representative from Cobblestone Inn and Suites, who suggested they consider performing one.

Swimming pool

Monona Family Aquatic Center manager Michelle Finnegan gave the council an update on pool operations so far this season. The pool averages around 78 people per day, she said, with the highest number—130—coming on  June 11.

A midnight swim, from 9 p.m. to midnight, was held in June, which she said was well-attended, with 120 people. The plan is to hold a midnight swim once each month.

NEIT sidewalk

The council agreed to pay no more than $350 for a curb cut for a proposed South Main Street sidewalk installed adjacent to the Northeast Iowa Telephone (NEIT) office building. NEIT will pay for the sidewalk installation.

Collins said she felt the sidewalk was a good idea, especially now, when kids are travelling through the area to get to the summer feeding site at Gateway Park. 

“We’d rather have them go on a sidewalk than through a yard,” she said.

She said it will also benefit others traveling by foot to the park, Kwik Star, Casey’s General Store (when it is built) and other businesses.

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