Council also approves paying $15,000 for a hydraulic feasibility study of the marina water flows
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – City officials took steps Tuesday night to improve portions of the city’s marina at cost of about $85,000.
After discussion on long-term visions for the marina, Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld asked for a motion to approve repairs to the jetty wall, dredge the marina, and pay $15,000 for a hydraulic study looking at water flows in and out of the marina.
Mohrfeld got pushback from Councilman Mark Lair on the price. Lair initially balked at the idea of including the study, but voted in favor of the combined motion for all three expenditures.
The city still has access to some FEMA 2019 flood restoration money that can be used to help offset 80% to 85% of the costs of the dredging and wall repair with the city paying about $70,000 of the cost. The $15,000 feasibility study fee will be at city expense.
“That’s a lot of money, man. Where’s the money coming from,” Lair said. “You haven’t shown me the money. (City Manager David) Varley’s been telling me since I got on the council again a few years back, that we’re gonna be broke in a couple years if we don’t do something.”
Mohrfeld said the funds could be found a variety of different ways including borrowing from the Highway 61 rehabilitation funds or other enterprise funds that could be paid back with interest.
He told Lair the marina project could hold a $6 million price tag that would have to be a combination of private and public investment, but none of that starts without the study.
“If you have a magic wand, that would be a $6 million project,” Mohrfeld said. “You can’t move forward without knowing the cause and effect of that water. If we can’t do that, let’s make it a volleyball pit.”
Councilwoman Rebecca Bowker, who met, along with Mohrfeld and Public Works Director Mark Bousselot, with representatives of Klingner & Associates out of Burlington, said leaving the FEMA money on the table is out of the question.
“We need to take advantage of the FEMA money. To turn our back on three hundred or four hundred thousand dollars is ridiculous. You have to spend that money to see where we’re at,” she said.
“I have no doubts if we improve that marina our slips will fill up.”
Mohrfeld said a group has been meeting to look at what the future of the marina could be and said, “it’s pretty cool.”
He said visions include a two-story marina with a hospitality building featuring a restaurant group, showers, and covered docks were part of the discussion.
“In a nutshell, this will involve private grants, maybe some (Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission) investment, and maybe some people just writing checks,” Mohrfeld said.
In other action, the council:
• approved, 5-0, a second reading of a revised noise ordinance with wording to allow sponsored or sanctioned events such as music events and parades and also dropped some wording about flag desecration.
• approved, 5-0, several change orders from HR Green for work associated with the Hwy. 61 rehabilitation project totaling $106,531 to include design work on a sanitary sewer line between 5th and 6th streets and a water main replacement for the One-Way pair project slated for next year.
• approved, 5-0, a professional services agreement with HR Green for the design and construction phase services for the next segment of the Highway 61 project from 10th to 18th Streets for $1.15 million. That project is set to be bid in November of 2021 with work starting in 2022.