Councilors discuss Central Avenue, Old City Hall projects

Posted November 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm

by Steve Peterson

The 2013 Central Avenue Street Projects and Assessments for the concrete overlay project from 10th to 16th Streets was updated for Hawarden councilors on Nov. 14.

The project’s public hearing will be at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. The required publication notice requirements and letters to impacted property owners were sent to property owners last week to meet requirements said Hawarden City Administrator Gary Tucker.

Old City Hall

Councilors also discussed the future of the 1918 City Hall building, located off Central Avenue.

Big Sioux River Valley Historical Society (BSRVHC) has been working on the project obtaining grants and architectural services for about a year, according to Jaimie Strong, president of BSRVHC, who made the presentation. It was determined the group will keep working on the project but no or little work will be done due to the building’s lack of heat this Winter with activities to pick up in the Spring.

“I would like to thank the council for giving the Historical Society an opportunity to work on this historic city hall,” said Strong. “One of the reasons the Historical Society was formed was to protect and preserve the city’s history. We’re in a shining example of how an older building can be revitalized (City Offices was once Hawarden High School) and be an important and productive part of our community again.”

“It is our goal to have the same success as was achieved here at the Old City Hall. Since you first granted us the opportunity, we have been working very hard and accomplished a great deal,” he said.
“We received a grant from Keep Iowa Beautiful and Department of Natural Resources which allowed us to do three things: a structural analysis was done on the building and it was found that the building was very sound and a perfect candidate for preservation; an asbestos inspection was also conducted, and with the grant, the asbestos was removed from the building.

“We also hired Ed Storm and his firm, FEH Associates Architects (of Sioux City),” said Strong. “Storm is an expert in preserving historic buildings and is a huge fan of William L. Steel who designed the Old City Hall.”

“I met with Storm several times to tour the building and discuss what our options are and what dreams we could achieve,” he said. “FEH Associates this year produced several artists’ conceptual drawings showing the finished building would look like and also the floor plan design.”

“Our grant writer, Jan Cain, has found out through the grant process that the artists’ rendering is exactly what we need and will give us a much better chance to get these grants,” said Strong. “His firm has recommended the next steps.”

“Our immediate plans are to get a working set of architectural plans and the process can continue to move forward a lot faster,” said Strong, requesting the council’s permission to go forward with the project. “We also would like to have the plumbing and heating inspected to see if it is viable to use it and to turn it back on temporarily so we can work in the building and get a dumpster to start the clean-up.”

“We have a lot of volunteers who are willing to work and take things that are deemed unnecessary out,” he said. “Cain is writing several new grants to allow us to achieve our goal. We will also be starting a capital funding project.”

In other city business:

• Councilors approved the Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Urban Renewal Report. This is a new requirement from the State Legislature, said Hawarden Finance Director Sherole Rens.

• On the consent agenda, approved a request from Brian Engleman of Sportsman’s Lanes and Lounge for transfer of liquor license to Hawarden Community Center on Dec. 1.

• Held a closed session for litigation matters.

• Set the next Hawarden council meeting for 5:30 p.m., Nov. 28. Meetings are at Hawarden City Offices and are open to the public.

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