Mormann provides update on Central Park Lake project

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Brad Mormann, Jones County Conservation director, met with the Board of Supervisors during their Sept. 26 meeting to provide an update on the Central Park Lake Restoration Project.

     “All of the major pieces of the project have been contracted out,” explained Mormann.

     The Iowa DNR contracted with PCI to literally do the heavy lifting when it comes to the removal of 150,000 cubic yards of lake fill built up after over 50 years. Mormann said Jones County Conservation is contracting with the DNR to oversee the project.

     “It works out well teaming up with the DNR because we’re a smaller organization, and they’ll handle all of the funds and bills,” Mormann said of the partnership. “The DNR’s engineer will oversee the project, something we don’t have the ability to do.”

     He said the fill-removal project was always meant to be a fill-in fall/winter project for PCI, with a deadline of March 1, 2018.

     The project is estimated to cost around $2.4 million, with $2.5 million in funding secured to date. The largest piece of that funding, almost $1.2 million, stems from the DNR Lake Restoration program.

     Some changes have been made to the overall lake restoration project. At the fishing access area, ADA access will be established.

     Mormann said due to the cost, the beach area changed dramatically.

     “We decided to shift the beach area,” he said.

     ADA sidewalks were also added around the beach, which are currently not in place, as well as kayak and canoe access points at the lake.

     “We don’t plan on putting the fence back in,” Mormann said of what’s in place right now.

     The boat ramp area will be equipped with a new parking lot, new dock and paddling access.

     There will also be variations of wildlife habitat built into the lakebed

     “We’re going to try to diversify the shoreline with habitat,” Mormann said. “We’ll also put in spawning habitat.”

     With the lake dredging expected to be done by the spring, the lake access points will be put in place by next September.

     “Individual contributions, grants, local dollars, and local organizations all made this possible,” praised Mormann. He said if some of the grants are not fully spent, they could end up paying those back if bid prices come in under budget.

     “It’s nice to have a buffer if anything pops up during the project,” said Mormann. “There is that potential.”

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach said many are looking forward to having this project completed.

     Mormann said this particular project dates back to 2012 with the former Conservation Director, Larry Gullett, and the watershed assessment.

     “There was a lot of forethought to get us to this point,” Mormann said. “The lake is the heart of the park, and we want to modernize the facilities for the future.”

In other county business:

     • Lucia Herman, Community Services director, met with the board seeking some direction regarding Senate File 504. This measure concerns directing county mental health funds toward mental health/disability service regions for projects and/or property tax adjustments. Herman informed the board that she had an upcoming regional meeting and needed to relay Jones County’s stance on using spending down the fund balance.

     “Are you willing to spend money on only those projects Jones County came up with?” asked Herman. “Or are you willing to pool our money for all of the projects?”

     Herman said while each county in the East Central Region offered a number of regional projects, some can be attained sort-term rather than long-term. One of those is telehealth within the county jails.

     “It’s very reasonable as far as the dollar amount to start with,” Herman explained of the $6,480 investment. “Some jails already have telehealth established. We don’t.”

     Another project, collaborating with Benton County for a mobile respite trailer comes at a cost of $283,000 a year.

     County Auditor Janine Sulzner explained that spending down the fun balance is one-time spending. “So how long will the mobile unit have to go on?” she asked.

     While none of the projects suggested are set in stone, Herman said the region needs to know how much funds are available to utilize.

     “The (regional) governing board has to decide what projects are approved,” she said. “Many projects are being suggested.”

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach said he didn’t have an issue with sharing funds across the region. “That’s what the region is all about,” he said. But he felt the region needs to continue reducing its tax levy before Jones County contributes more financially. “Jones County has no problem spending our own fund balance down.”

     Sulzner added that the regions are supposed to spend 100 percent of what is allocated, which apparently hasn’t been happening.

     “We’ll have to reassess this every year if the region is still not spending their funds,” offered Sulzner.

     Supervisor Joe Oswald also agreed that Jones County should not be contributing additional funds toward the region.

     • The board approved a $12,000 endangered mussel survey for the eventual removal of Shaw Road Bridge. County Engineer Derek Snead said in order to utilize the riverbed for heavy equipment to assist in the removal of the bridge, the mussel survey has to be done to determine whether there are endangered mussels at that location or not.

     If the report determines that there are mussels in the waterway, Snead said they might have to mitigate and relocate the species to another waterway.

     • Lisa Mootz, IT coordinator, shared a couple of sound system quotes she received from Radio Communications. The sound system would be installed in both the Board Room and the Community Room within the courthouse.

     One quote was $1,276, plus an additional $600 for a wireless microphone. For a wireless system, the quote was $62,21.

     The board asked Mootz to look into quotes from other sources, or possible grant options to assist in the cost of the system.


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