By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
One important item on the Jones County Board of Supervisors’ agenda for Aug. 28 was the final action on a request to reclassify a portion of Dales Ford Road from a level “B” to a level “C.” This has been an on-going topic of discussion between the Board and landowners along that portion of Dales Ford Road. The Board members have received e-mail correspondence, letters, phone calls and a petition regarding the possible closure of the road.
Board Chairman Joe Cruise allowed some people to offer comments for or against the road reclassification.
Greg Stickfort, a landowner along Dales Ford Road, said he was opposed to the closure and class “C” classification.
“It is public access and should be a public road,” he said. Stickfort said if adjacent landowners have problems with trespassing, they could put gates up on their property.
“A closure is the wrong way to go,” said Stickfort.
Jason Rickels, another Dales Ford Road resident, asked if the road could be changed to a level “C” and gated without a padlock? He said this way it would “still deter people from doing mischievous behavior.”
Supervisor Cruise said he would not be in favor of a gated road.
Bill Ries, landowner on Dales Ford Road, said the road and river crossing have historic values.
“It should be left alone so people can use it,” commented Ries.
County Engineer Mike McClain said the county does have quite a few level “C” roads that are “working just fine.” His recommendation to the Board was to leave Dales Ford Road as a level “B” road “and reconsider in the future if it does not pan out.”
The Board agreed closing the road would be a bad decision concerning the amount of opposition there has been on the matter. They voted to leave the road as a level “B.”
Deb Schultz, County Community Services coordinator, met with the Board to continue discussion on mental health regionalization. Schultz said Jones, Linn and Benton counties are starting to work on a 28E draft agreement as these counties plan to come together for mental health services.
“We need to look at the services and what is best for our people,” said Schultz.
Later during the Board meeting, the Jones County Supervisors held a conference call with the Benton County Supervisors, as both Boards were in session. Both Boards were concerned about talks with Linn County after an article that appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette a couple weeks ago indicating Linn and Johnson counties were considering coming together for mental health services. One of the Benton County Supervisors said it was their understanding that regional discussion would remain between Jones, Linn and Benton counties for the time being.
“We were blind-sided,” said Benton County. “We need to all act as a group.”
There was some discussion on having Johnson and Iowa counties join the regional group, but nothing was decided upon or set in stone.
Both Boards decided to set up a meeting with Linn County Supervisors on Aug. 30. The meeting would also include Community Services staff from all three counties.
Rose Rohr, Jones County Historic Preservation Commission, asked the county for approval on a Certified Local Government Grant application for a survey of Wapsipinicon State Park. Rohr said the park was nominated to be on the National Register of Historic Places. Filling out the grant application is the next step in the process, she said.
The DNR offered comments in conjunction with the grant application, helping to promote and explain why Wapsi Park should be considered as national historic landmark.
Grace Zimmerman commented that this opportunity would put the park on the map and open it up for increased tourism.
“It’ll be a big draw,” said Zimmerman.
Rohr said this nomination would not restrict public access, but help to open the door for funding to restore structures and keep the park going.
The grant application requires a county match of funds. Rohr said they are planning several fundraisers. The Board approved the grant application.
In other county news:
• The Board accepted a donation in the amount of $27,000 from Twin Rivers Pheasants Forever to purchase land adjacent to Central Park.
• The Board was notified that the owners of The Grove paid towards their cigarette permit violation and signed the settlement agreement.
• The Board approved a request from County Community Services for an exception to the policy for pest extermination. Deb Schultz explained it was to “ensure the health and safety” of the resident.