Rainbow Drive project costs climb

New entrances, lighting increases costs by $370K


A new City of West Liberty capital street improvement project rose to a projected cost of $2.17 million after electrical and other improvements on Rainbow Drive were added, it was learned Tuesday evening, Jan. 4, at the regular meeting of the West Liberty City Council held at the West Liberty Public Library.

The north end project that will tap into the new Buysse Enterprises subdivision proposed on the corner of Rainbow Drive and Garfield Avenue, took an estimated $370,000 jump with new estimates from city engineer Leo Foley of Veenstra & Kimm.

The additional work would include two entrances for the new subdivision and an estimated $170,000 in electrical work to add dual lighting on 15 poles for a proposed walking path on the north side of the roadway that would also light the street.

The additional cost would also include eliminating 12 trees on the north side of the street, all to be replaced, although that was optional as well.

Foley said he simply wanted approval from the board to move forward with the project in getting bids and final detail work underway, noting some detail decisions can wait.

One major decision that came up was whether a sidewalk was needed on the south side of the roadway if a trail was being built on the north side. Foley said crossings could be made but pointed out traffic coming onto the street from Garfield is a serious safety issue.

The trail would extend from near Garfield to the Dutton Sports Complex and may present an opportunity for a trail to be built through the new subivision, where sidewalks are also planned.

Rainbow Drive residents Jay and Casey Simon say including a sidewalk on that side of the street is useless, pointing out it would “basically go nowhere.” He said having a trail on the opposite side of the street is “great” and would handle foot traffic the sidewalk would have handled. He said his property has about 1,000 feet of curb.

There was discussion that the timing is right to complete the entire project to include a sidewalk, noting it would cost a lot more to construct one in the future since crews were already working on the road project.

Foley said crossings could be added to the trail, but still recommended the sidewalk.

The council decided to move ahead with the Alternate Four deluxe plan with discussion on the sidewalk tabled for the next meeting, Cara McFerren making the motion. The board had been presented three other alternative plans as well including one without walkways and other improvements, one with just the sidewalk and the other with just the walking trail.

In other business, the city approved the second reading and waived the third reading to move for approval of reprecincting for the Corporate City Limits of West Liberty concerning voting precincts. There were only slight changes in the document, which is available on the city website.

Mayor Katie McCullough read a mayoral proclamation for the prevention of Slavery and Human Trafficking on behalf of the Rotary Club of West Liberty, hoping to bring more awareness to the issue.

The proclamaition pointed out the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery has been working since 2005 to abolish all forms of human trafficking through education, volunteerism, advocacy and collaboration. It pointed out awareness of the crime is growing but human trafficking continues to go unreported due to its isolated nature. The local Rotarians, chaired by member Tom Barr, have been instrumental in helping educate students and educators as well as the community about the issue in fighting the crime.

The group encouraged citizens to become more informed, to be vigilant and report suspicious activity and to work toward solutions to end the problem.

“If you see something that doesn’t look right, take action and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888,” the mayor ended her first proclamation.

The council also approved new signers for bank accounts for the city featuring the new mayor, then set a date for a special council meeting with city attorney Jamie Bosten for Tuesday, Jan. 18, beginning at 6 p.m. before the regular council meeting at 7:30 p.m.

The council also set a date for a city council work session on Tuesday, Feb. 1, beginning at 6 p.m.to review the general fund bud and in particular the tax levy for 2022-23.

The mayor was also asked to make council committee appointments, paying close attention to previous appointments that would mean experience with certain issues and departments. The mayor did appoint Dana Dominguez as mayor pro-tem, replacing Diane Beranek in that position.

City engineer Leo Foley of Veenstra and Kimm in Rock Island gave an update on the rehabilitation project for the city’s Well #2, hoping to make the well productive again in saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. Testing is planned at the well in the next few weeks to determine its fate.

He also reported on a meeting with West Liberty Foods concerning wastewater treatment and a gas recycling project. Foley said things are moving forward with the city’s largest employer.