Monroe County Little League Softball representatives Tony Zanoni and Jason Popson came before the Albia City Council asking for a more formal leasing agreement for the Washington softball field.
Popson and Zanoni told the council the softball organization was preparing to make major improvements to the facility and wanted a measure of control over the field. “We’re getting ready to invest between $40,000 and $50,000 into the field,” said Zanoni. “A lot of that will be replacing the infield and improving the dugouts.”
Popson, who built a pressbox for the field a few years ago, said there has been some vandalism to the pressbox. Zanoni added that one of the most frustrating things for the league to deal with is people walking their dogs in the outfield and leaving dog excrement.
“We’d like to be able to lock the gates to the field and do some other security improvements,” said Zanoni.
Councilman Merle Regenold questioned the two about public use of the facility. “We would post signs with phone numbers for people wanting to use the field and members of our board would open it,” said Zanoni. “We don’t want to keep people off the field, but we do want to know who is using it in the event of vandalism.”
Use of the restrooms and concession stand would remain the same with both the city and softball league having keys. There would be no change in using the playground equipment.
The city set a precedent a few years ago in leasing the soccer field to the Albia Soccer Association and Mayor Richard Clark said the city would make a similar agreement with the softball league.
Carnegie-Evans Public Library Board President, Dave Paxton, addressed the council about a problem with the library’s aging elevator system. A state inspection of the nearly 40-year-old elevator found the system in good working order, but the manufacturer of the elevator is no longer in business and parts are no longer available for repair. The inspector told the library board that it should be replaced.
Paxton said the board got estimates for a new elevator (that will use the existing shaft) and the cost came to just over $58,000.
Paxton told the council that the library has about $108,000 in memorials, but all but about $48,000 is specified for various projects, including book purchases and technology. “We’ve never budgeted for building repair,” said Paxton. “Patrons of the library have been extremely generous and we have been able to remodel most of the inside and do other improvements without cost to the city. I guess we’re asking the council to consider helping with the elevator replacement cost in the upcoming budget discussions.”
Nancy Buss of Hall Engineering was on hand to discuss upgrades to the north and west sewer plants ordered by the EPA. The council’s sewer committee held a two-hour meeting with Buss and agreed that using a Canadian company called Nexom would be most cost effective and work best for the city. The system uses underground rock cells with mulch on the top to meet EPA standards year around.
The other part of the discussion involved joining the two plants or improving them separately. Both the engineer and council felt it best to keep the plants separate.
The cost of the upgrades would be about $11 million. Buss said that the city could seek financing through the state revolving fund administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or through a USDA Rural Development loan. The council also discussed briefly the probability of sewer rates going up to pay for the project.
The city has already received a one-year extension by the EPA to address the problems. “We don’t have a lot of choice,” said Buss. “The deadline set by the EPA is rapidly approaching.”
The council spent a few minutes discussing the possibility of placing a four-way stop at the intersection of South A St. and A Avenue West. The intersection has Professional Management, the Brick Street Restaurant and Conley Spray Foam on three sides. Aaron Conley brought the matter before the council and Councilman Dennis Conley, a partner in Conley Spray Foam described some of the traffic problems they have encountered backing their equipment onto the street. Albia Police Chief Jay Andrews said he would take a closer look at the intersection.