FORT MADISON – Efforts to revamp the Old Fort are on hold as city officials await an engineer’s report on needed repairs.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Fort Madison City Council, Building Director Doug Krogmeier said once the city gets the report, they can identify what parts of the crumbling replica can be tackled first.
"If this comes in tomorrow, I would ask that there might be the possibility for a special meeting so we can keep moving on it," Krogmeier said.
Mayor Matt Mohrfeld said plans are time sensitive to get the Fort open before Memorial Day on May 29.
"It is time sensitive. We will be open for tours on Memorial Day and there’s some things we need to do," he said.
Mohrfeld said he didn’t have any details on the work.
Dr. Eugene Watkins, director of the Fort said events could be moved if need be with the first American Cruise Line's boat docking in June.
“So there’s some wiggle room in there.”
Mohrfeld said he told staff there isn’t any wiggle room because the city had committed to having the Fort open by Memorial Day.
“No, there is not,” Mohrfeld chuckled. “I pledged it would be open by Memorial Day and damnit it’s going to open on Memorial Day. Bullseye on the wall.”
Krogmeier said as soon as the city gets the report they will review it and then get it in front of the council. He said he was meeting with Watkins on Wednesday to get more pictures to finalize the report. Krogmeier thinks the report will be in before the beginning of next week.
City Manager David Varley, said they will hold engineer’s feet to the fire and hopefully have something very early next week to allow a meeting to present options to the council.
Several advocates asked Mohrfeld if there would be any assistance from the city to help Watkins with the work.
Mohrfeld said city staff has been on site to help get rid of some of the materials being stored there.
“They had a very productive couple of days from what was shared with me,” Mohrfeld said.
The mayor said there will be some repairs done in-house in the name of getting work done early.
He said the effort going forward should be a joint volunteer and city effort.
“Based on what’s got us to this point with everybody kicking in, there will be some of that coupled with Eugene’s crew and his volunteers,” Mohrfeld said.
“The loud and clear thing we’ve heard was this was important to us and we will show up. And we’re going to take the community up on that. We truly we are. I think it’s important that people support what they create,” he said.
“It should be partners shoulder to shoulder.”
In other action, the council:
• approved setting a public hearing for replacement and bidding for the replacement of the Automated Weather Observing System at the Fort Madison Municipal Airport.
• approved a bid of $115,270 for lights for the Riverview Park Marina Project.
• reminded residents that the city’s spring cemetery clean up will take place next week and all materials need to be removed from grave sites by Sunday.
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