City council moves forward on swimming pool project

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council at its regular monthly meeting on July 9 moved forward on the municipal swimming pool project, discussed mobile food vendors, and heard plans for downtown beautification. 

Swimming pool

Roger Schamberger of Burbach Aquatics was present to give an overview and proposed timeline for the swimming pool project as it moves closer to the construction phase.

Schamberger answered questions from the council and mayor regarding the pool plans. In response to a question from the mayor, he said that vibrations from the nearby railroad would not be an issue affecting the integrity of the pool. Schamberger told the council that the pool is anticipated to have a 50-year design life. "We haven't had a leaking pool vessel yet, and our firm is celebrating 40 years of business," he said. 

The council set a public hearing for Aug. 27 on the proposed plans, specifications, forms of contract and estimated cost of the pool project. The timeline calls for the facility to be open by the end of May 2019.

Mobile food vendors

Erin Potter of the Buenie Bottoms mobile food truck returned to the council with a report on business during a trial period allowed by the council in May. The truck is on the premises of the Guttenberg Motel every Thursday, and Potter  said she serves an average of 40-80 customers. She expressed a desire to continue at that spot. 

Brian Engelhardt, who owns a mobile ice cream business, also spoke at length to the council, expressing interest in leasing a temporary site from a commercial property owner along Highway 52. He asked for city guidance in following proper procedures. He said his business could potentially become permanent depending on customer response.  

The council's consensus was to authorize the city manager to work with Engelhardt as he moves forward with his plans. The council also extended permission for Buenie Bottoms to operate under its current agreement until Oct. 31.

The council tabled an item concerning an ordinance to regulate mobile vendors; council members will give feedback to the city manager prior to considering an ordinance next month.

Nodes project

The nodes at downtown intersections, previously planted with bushes that have been removed due to overgrowth, are the focus of a project undertaken by Umbrella Arts (UA). The group would like to replace the current mulch and often-weedy growth with colored concrete and  small limestone planters. UA unsuccessfully applied for grant money to fund the project, but members would still like to proceed with the project, breaking it into phases. MJ Smith gave an update to the council including plans for funding and maintenance. As part of the grant application, the city had agreed to furnish labor to remove node materials and to purchase dye and concrete. The council agreed to move forward on the same basis.

Other business

The council approved several changes in the zoning ordinance, addressing caretaker dwellings in a manufacturing district, solar collectors, and the removal of rental storage facility use from certain zoning districts.

Final approval was given to a noise ordinance introduced at last month's council meeting.

Austin Coon of the Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development Committee discussed a parcel of property owned by GEIDC south of the municipal building. A lot owned by the city breaks up the continuity of the GEIDC lots.  Should a developer express interest in the entire package, it was the council's consensus to allow GEIDC to represent the city lot as part of the GEIDC offering. 

Dennis Schlueter of Miners Creek Campground spoke to the council with a request to purchase, or be granted an easement, for city property that lies between two parcels of campground property. The matter was tabled until next month's meeting so that council members can visit the site before making a decision. 

The council set a public hearing for the Aug. 13 council meeting for an easement request from Ken Deutmeyer regarding property adjoining the industrial park. A subdivision request from Deutmeyer was referred to the planning and zoning board.  

The city solicited proposals for interest rates and fees from three local banks. After reviewing the proposals, the council chose to continue with Fidelity Bank as the city depository. 

In consent agenda items, the council approved nearly $180,574 in engineering and construction payments for the bridge replacement project on Garber Road. 

On the city manager's recommendation, the council okayed doing sewer line improvements in the Rotteck and DeKalb Street area, prompted by utility improvements in conjunction with Casey's General Store renovations. 

Street closures were okayed for this year's Germanfest, the same as last year.

Grant applications to Upper Mississippi Gaming Commission from the Wave of the Future pool project, the cable commision and ambulance service were okayed.

The deadline for completion of the fish sculpture project in downtown Guttenberg was extended due to delays in archaeological studies. 

Flooring in the basement level of the municipal building will be replaced at a cost of approximately $18,000. The contractor is Ideal Decorating. 

The council approved a request initiated by the mayor for a television and other video equipment that will be used in the council chambers.

Mayor Frommelt presented a proposal to change the city park board from elected to appointed positions, noting that Guttenberg is the only community in the area with an elected park board. It was the council’s consensus to have an ordinance prepared to be considered at next month’s meeting. 

Leases for buildings on city property along the riverfront in downtown Guttenberg have come due, and the council authorized the city manager and city attorney to renegotiate the terms.

The city currently purchases some items by debit card, a practice frowned upon by state auditors. The council approved switching to credit cards that will be used in accordance with a credit card policy.

The topic of trash receptacles in the park will be discussed at the council’s August meeting at the mayor’s request.

The council approved installation of a handicapped accessible door at the restroom in Ingleside Park near the veterans memorial. Estimated cost is $12,650 for materials and labor.

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