Transportation-related matters took center stage for Le Mars City Council members at their regular Tuesday meeting.
Members, following a public hearing, approved the bid-letting schedule for the project expected to begin in June. The project, now estimated at approximately $513,000, slightly under the original estimate, is being financed through Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding at the 95 percent level with the city's estimated cost, through local TIF funding put at $32,890. Bids are to be awarded by the council at its May 15 meeting.
City Administrator Scott Langel told the council Tuesday that project will result in a 40-day closing of the airport runway during the project. He said that airport tenants have been given advance notice of the closing and of their need to temporarily use facilities available at other airports.
The announcement, Langel said, has prompted three of the current runway tenants to indicate their plans to permanently relocate to another airport site.
Mayor Virgil Van Beek said he's hopeful of a future opportunity to convince these individuals to return to the Le Mars site once the project is completed.
The improvement work, 300 ft. extensions at both the north and sound ends of the runway, is expected to be completed in August, Langel said.
Turning their attention to that of the new city/school stadium street project, council members accepted a bid of $312,395 submitted by Godbersen-Smith Construction, Ida Grove.
The bid, one of five submitted, is slightly over the initial $300,000 project estimate.
Aug. 13 has been set as completion date for the joint city/school project including a new street, driveways and sidewalks near the high school stadium. The 50/50 cooperative project that got this week's "Thumbs Up" award from Councilman Rex Knapp, calls for in-kind work to be performed by both entities with the city's actual cash costs coming from R.U.T. funds.
The Le Mars School District will be 100 percent responsible for necessary water main work.
The council Tuesday also received a somewhat positive bit of news on the current highway work on the northbound Highway 75 project at the south edge of Le Mars. Langel told council members that the "possibility" existed that work on that portion of the highway, necessitated by the Highway 60 project, could be completed in June now that contractors are arriving at the construction site.
Also adding to the optimism, Councilman Ken Nelson suggested, was the recent UP railroad signal work now underway at the County Road C38/Highway 75 location.
Walkways, as well as streets and runways, even got their share of attention Tuesday as Knapp commended Le Mars city staff for local efforts to maintain conditions of sidewalks in the community.
Knapp, saying he'd had occasion to be in both Sioux City and Sioux Center, representative of large and small communities, said the condition of Le Mars walkways are far better than other of either of the other two communities.
He commended the efforts of Jason Vacura, city code coordinator, for enforcement of sidewalk violations saying "it's important that we keep ahead of the curve" to maintain the condition of the local sidewalks.
And on yet another transportation issue, the council has requested Langel to meet with Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives regarding the need for more definitive signage on the new Highway 60 to better route travelers into Le Mars at the north edge of town.
On a final note, Nelson, has suggested that Langel look into the possible use of "hot mix" to be available during work on other local street projects for more substantial patching of existing large potholes at the intersections of Highway 75 and Fourth Ave. and Highway 75 and Highway 3.
Also of concern, meanwhile, to the council, Van Beek offered, was the abundance of water that he termed "a pond" that that accumulated after heavy rains north of town on Highway 75 at the junction of Highway 75 and the old Highway 60.
At least one member of the council suggested, somewhat in jest, the possibility of the site becoming a possible landing site for geese members.
Not in jest, however, was the concern also voiced over the pond's equal possibility as a future gathering site for mosquitoes. Langel was been directed to voice these concerns to the DOT officials.