BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – The Fort Madison Food Pantry is one step closer to taking ownership of the Idol Rashid Memorial building in Fort Madison.
Fort Madison city officials have been trying to divest themselves of the property for close to a year as they button down the city’s finances. But the city couldn’t legally deed the building over to the food pantry because Iowa law won’t allow the city to sell property for less than market value.
So the city found a creative way to get the building in the hands of the food pantry, but they have to go through Lee County to get it done.
The city can transfer the property to Lee County and then Lee County can deed the property over to the food pantry.
At Tuesday’s regular Board of Supervisors meeting, the board will vote on a resolution to set a public hearing to accept the building from the city and gift it back to the Fort Madison Food Pantry.
The move will give the pantry full ownership of the building with the understanding that it remains used for a public purpose and retain the name The Idol Rashid Memorial Building and the pantry take steps to make repairs.
Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld said food pantry officials have been making plans for a capital campaign to help generate funds for the maintenance of the building.
The United Way of the Great River Region also has office space in the building and will remain in the building under an agreement with the food pantry.
City officials have worked with several organizations including Head Start to move the building in an effort to rid itself of the annual maintenance and upkeep of properties it owns.
Head Start was originally interested in purchasing the property, but then determined it wouldn’t fit the program’s needs. When Mohrfeld, then a city councilman, suggested giving the property to the food bank, the Rashid family balked because they wanted the building to be used for children.
Subsequent conversations with the family convinced them that the food pantry was in important part of keeping children fed and the family agreed to the move.
In other action, supervisors will also consider approval of a federal aid agreement for Iowa’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act project.