Streetscape

OTTUMWA — The streetscape project in Ottumwa is barely a week old, but the city council will get an update Tuesday on how the project is going.

This week saw the first work on what will be a multi-year project in the 100-300 blocks of East Main Street. When the project is complete, both the utilities underground and the street itself will be rebuilt. The project incorporates some approaches similar to the renovations to Canteen Alley, including permeable pavement, that will help supply trees and plantings along the road.

Work on such a scale inevitably means disruptions. While businesses in the affected areas still have access from the front sidewalks, cars are blocked from parking in the work zone. Signs have been set up to help direct traffic toward parking lots.

The update will be given by Public Works Director Larry Seals.

Seals will also address the council council on proposed repairs at Bridge View Center. Cracks have appeared in some of the precast concrete panels at the facility, well before any such issues were expected. City staff is recommending routing on the panels and filling the cracks with epoxy to prevent water from getting into them. If left untreated, the issue would get worse, potentially causing significant problems for the facility.

Documents supplied to council members suggest the contractor and materials supplier may be at fault for the damage. But a suit to recoup the costs is not an option, “as both entities have dissolved.”

Council members are also being asked to allow the purchase of a new boat for the Ottumwa Fire Department. The department uses a boat for rescues on the Des Moines River, and the previous one was lost in a night rescue in October 2018.

During the rescue, the boat capsized and sank. The firefighters in the boat had to swim to shore in the dark, and were eventually rescued. Several grants and donations will help with the cost. The proposed replacement has a price tag of $54,286, but the city’s portion of the cost will be just above $21,000.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall.

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Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.