The Ottumwa Courier

September 20, 2013

County looks at lease, road closures

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — County supervisors will talk about a possible lease agreement during Tuesday's meeting and discuss whether to close portions of two county roads.

Supervisor Greg Kenning said the lease agreement covers the court administration occupancy of a former bank building on Fourth Street. The office's occupancy isn't new, but the lease needs to be renewed.

“It's slightly different, but it's basically the same as the one before,” he said.

The county appears likely to vacate and close parts of 90th Street and 98th Avenue. Supervisors will decide Tuesday whether to set a hearing on both of those options.

County Engineer Brian Moore said neither change will have much of an impact on drivers. In the case of 90th Street, the area under consideration is already a dead-end. It involves two other entities: The Izaak Walton League and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

“The Izaac Walton League is trying to purchase tracts of land the Iowa DOT bought as part of the four-lane construction,” Moore said.

The catch is that, while 90th Street already ends before the property, it's still on the books as if it was prior to the Ottumwa bypass' construction. So Moore said the county must formally close it in order to clear the way for the sale.

Vacating part of 98th Avenue near Highland Center is a similar situation. The road is “nearly impassable,” Moore said. But that doesn't mean people don't try, and when they do they don't always have good intentions.

The property owner asked the county to formally close the road to help reduce vandalism and dumping trash, according to Moore. As with the section of 90th Street, it shouldn't have a significant impact on navigating Wapello County.

Kenning said neither of those closures appear to pose any real concerns.