New depot contract in front of council Tuesday

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – It could be a long night Tuesday as the Fort Madison City Council has several high profile projects on the agenda and a workshop to follow.

The city is close to finalizing a contract to start work in building a new depot platform for Amtrak service on the back of the North Lee County Historical Society Museum in Riverview Park.

The project dates back to the early 2000s and even before when former Fort Madison mayor John Wright hinted at moving the depot back to the park during his tenure in the late 90s. But his successors Steve Ireland and Brad Randolph championed the project, which has of late been mired in budget problems.

A public hearing is set for Tuesday night with resolutions to enter into a contract with Iowa Bridge and Culvert, of Washington, Iowa for $2.7 million. In September a bid from Iowa Bridge and Culvert came in double the cost at $2.83 million almost killing the project. Former mayor Brad Randolph, and former councilman Chris Greenwald and other staff went to work with Amtrak and Federal Rail Administration officials to try and come up with a last-minute resolution to the project.

Two weeks ago, the FRA gave Amtrak approval to use $1.4 million in Amtrak’s Americans with Disabilities Act funds to help offset the remaining costs of the project.

With contingencies added into the project, City Manager David Varley said the project could still fall a half a million short.

The city council will also be voting to approve the 2020-21 fiscal year budget. The city has had several workshops this year to iron out details of the budget, which is a new twist to the usual budget review with council by Varley prior to approval.

In other action, the council could set a public hearing regarding the rehabilitation of two city parking lots in town. The first is at the southeast corner of 8th Street and Avenue F, and the second is the parking lot just north of City Hall on the southwest corner of Avenue D and 8th Street.

Following the regular meeting the council will hold a workshop, where the council will address possible programs to assist property owners with dilapidated structures. There will also be a discussion on future plans for the city’s marina.

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