Depot lease docs ready as city shakes loose funding

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG

PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – As city officials scour state and federal funding options to keep the Amtrak depot relocation efforts active, lease agreements for the platform at the new depot appear to be ready for approval.

At the Feb. 19 regular council meeting, the city will not only be possibly approving the 2019-20 fiscal year budget, but will also hear from Mayor Brad Randolph about some new possible funding options that could reduce, or possibly completely offset any hit to the budget under consideration.

Varley put out three memos to the city council on Friday outlining three different agreements that need council approval. Varley also used the memos to outline exactly what the city’s responsibilities are under each agreement.

The city has to approve three separate agreements with Amtrak; an agreement to sublease the platform, an Old Station Revitalization agreement, and a lease agreement.

Under the lease agreement, the city would lease 813 square feet of space to Amtrak, along with a common area for passengers. The term of the lease is 20 years with two 10-year extensions available. In exchange, the city would get currently, a $400 monthly rent payment from Amtrak.

The city would be responsible for all maintenance, upkeep, and repair on the platform, restrooms, and common area including 20 parking spaces reserved for Amtrak passengers. The city would also be responsible for having someone identified as the building manager, installing panic buttons under the ticket counter, and providing regular security.

However, according to Randolph, Amtrak officials are meeting Tuesday to discuss possibly increasing their contributions to the project, in light of the city’s struggling financial picture.

He said if Amtrak does come through with additional funding, that lease agreement may have to be pulled from the agenda to be rewritten.

“We are counting on Amtrak to come through,” Randolph said Saturday.

The revitalization agreement outlines the city’s responsibility in constructing the platform, signage, and wheelchair enclosure. Amtrak agreed originally to contribute a one-time $150,000 investment toward the cost of the platform construction.

The final agreement is a sublease where once that platform is constructed, the city would give the platform to Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Amtrak would lease the platform from BNSF and lease it back to the city so the city can be responsible for maintenance and upkeep.

In other action, the council will consider

  • the reappointment of Joe Thurman to the Old Fort Commission and Marty Dean to the Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Association.
  • purchase of a $40,500 tractor/mower from Sinclair Tractor of Houghton, and a $4,550 pallet fork and 6′ rotary mower from Sinclair.
  • approve the 2019-2020 budget and set a public hearing on the budget for March 5, at 5:30 p.m.

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