Collins stepping down as Monona mayor

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

After 2.5 years as Monona’s mayor, Barb Collins announced at Monday’s city council meeting that she will step down from the position at the end of the month in order to become the city’s deputy clerk.

She will take over for current deputy clerk Linda Gullickson, who is retiring.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve, and I look forward to continue serving as deputy clerk,” Collins said. “I really enjoyed it. It takes time, but you learn so much.”

Collins noted her time as mayor was aided by a city council and city administrator who had a keen interest in the community and were willing to explain the intricacies of city government.

The council plans to appoint someone to the position. Anyone who is interested in becoming mayor is encouraged to contact the city. The new mayor will finish out the remaining one year and four months of the two-year term.

Once an appointment is made, the public will have 14 days to petition for a special election, if they so choose. A special election would have to be held separately from the upcoming Nov. 8 general election, explained city administrator Dan Canton.

REAP grant application

The city will again submit a Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) grant application in the hopes of receiving funding for city park improvements.

Among the proposed improvements are new handicap accessible restrooms, which will be built at the current location of the restrooms. Shade tree plantings, a butterfly garden area with native plantings placed adjacent to the new restroom facility, and a rain garden, to be located west of the south park shelter, are also planned. The rain garden will be integrated in and around the park sign, making the park more beautiful while also improving water quality.

Also proposed are ADA concrete sidewalks allowing the elderly and those with disabilities to more easily and safely reach the two park shelters, especially from the new all-inclusive playground. Handicap accessible picnic tables would be placed at each shelter.

Last year, Canton said the city’s application did not receive more consideration because it was not connected to a trail project, which the REAP committee likes to see.

“So we changed our approach a bit,” Canton said, noting that this year’s application includes more photos and incorporates the trail ideas generated through Monona’s Community Visioning process.

Plans now include establishing a central trail head in the park, including a kiosk and gathering space with seating areas. The kiosk will be a map, showing people trail locations throughout the community.

Monona Chamber and Economic Development Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson, who also helped with the application, included the city’s trail counts, demonstrating how often the Butterfly Trail is utilized, while also explaining why people use it.

“Now that we’ve created our plan with trails, I think we can score more points,” Canton said.

Canton said the total amount of funding requested for the project is $65,505, up from the $50,000 requested last year.

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