Five officers receive commendations from Mayor and Police Chief for valor and lifesaving measures
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The elimination of parking on the south side of Avenue E on the eastern half of town will now get a little more attention.
City Councilman Tom Schulz, fresh off a swearing in four weeks ago, moved to have the item put back on the council agenda for a reconsideration Tuesday night.
The third reading failed two weeks ago on a vote where three councilman voted in favor of the ban, but since it didn’t have four, which is a majority of the council, the motion failed.
Only Schulz or Rusty Andrews who’s votes defeated the motion two weeks ago, could bring the item back up for reconsideration.
Then, after a lengthy discussion, Councilman Chad Cangas motion to table the issue to allow further examination of information and comment. Only Councilwoman Rebecca Bowker voted against tabling the issue.
Cangas has been leading up discussions in a public safety committee about the options in conjunction with Fort Madison Police Chief Mark Rohloff.
Councilwoman Donna Amandus, also sworn in last month said she hasn’t heard a better solution than banning parking on the south side of Avenue E. The ban would include all parking from 2nd to 24th streets.
“It appears to me as a working group you did come up with a solution and I have yet to hear of a better solution from anyone, other than don’t do anything, which isn’t in the city’s best interest,” she said.
Cangas said there were three options which included eliminating parking on one side, no parking within certain areas, and keeping the status quo.
“We forwarded, as the best solution to the issues we had come across, the removal of parking on one side of the street. And that side made the most sense because there was more traffic coming up from that side of town,” he said.
Schulz asked if the committee looked at increasing the setbacks at intersections. Cangas said they did, but it would have essentially eliminated the parking anyway because of setback visibility recommendations.
“We did look at that, but there was no way to do it to make it effective,” Cangas said.
Schulz voted against the measure when it came up for a third reading two weeks ago. He said he didn’t think the data supported the move and it would put heavy burdens on churches along the street including St. Mary and Joseph Catholic Church and St. John United Church-Christ.
“I have three churches are in my ward – right on that street. One of those that has the meals (St. John’s), they have no place to park for Sunday service, either,” Schulz said. “
We’re gonna tell a church that’s been here a lot longer than Avenue E has, they have to close their doors because we’ve determined we don’t want them to have church there anymore.”
Amandus said she used live near the Catholic church and remembers how dangerous it was trying to cross at intersections on the street with cars on both sides.
“For the safety of parishioners I would think they would want something done there,” she said.
Rebecca Bowker voted against the motion to table saying the council should back the data provided by Rohloff.
Rohloff said all he can do is offer information and data and make a recommendation.
‘If you wish to kick this around a little bit more – that would be fine to your own satisfaction, but you need to make a conscientious vote on the facts that are available,” Rohloff said.
Resident Bill Faith said if the city eliminates parking on the south side of E at Central and Old Settlers parks, it will endanger the safety of kids.
“You gotta leave the parking along the parks or kids will get killed,” Faith said.
The decision will put the third reading of the ordinance back on the agenda for the next meeting which will be Jan. 5, 2021.
In an unrelated issue, Rohloff presented five officers with awards for exemplary service related to incidents in the past year.
For valor, Rohloff and Mayor Matt Mohrfeld presented plaques to Captain Benjamin “Corey” Brown, Detective David Doyle, Officer Nathan Parker and Officer Joshua Wade for their part in eliminating a threat from an armed man at a local industry on Dec. 10, 2019.
Rohloff also honored Officer Greg Warosh, for administering life-saving first aid to the victim of a stabbing on August 19th.
In other action, the council:
• voted unanimously to approve the third readings of two franchise fee agreements for natural gas and electrical consumption throughout the city. The agreements are not part of the city code and Mohrfeld said there will be some lag time in starting to assess the charges.
• heard from Mayor Matt Mohrfeld about a pending $6 million expansion of a local business, but no details were provided. He said more information may be coming forth in the near future.