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Old 09-14-2018, 04:10 PM
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Default Main Street to request councilís endorsement for grant

To aid in the development of a vacant downtown building, Newton Main Street will request on Monday the city council to approve a resolution authorizing a letter of support for the programís Challenge Grant application.

The grant, distributed through Main Street Iowa, awards between $15,000 to $75,000 annually for projects nominated by local Main Street organizations in the 54 participating communities in the state. The funds would help the development of an upscale food or beverage establishment in the historic Jasper County garage building at 115 W. Second St. S., according to documents attached to the council agenda packet.

The building is currently sought after by local real estate development group Goldfinch Growth, which presented its vision of transforming the rarely used space into a vibrant food or drink establishment to the Jasper County Board of Supervisors in August. The board set a public hearing and bid opening for the sale of the county-owned building to take place Sept. 18.

If the council decides to accept Newton Main Streetís proposal, the cityís endorsement must be received and included in the application on or before Sept. 21.

Hotel Maytag loans

Also on the agenda is a resolution authorizing Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) payments to Hotel Maytag Investors, LLC.

In May, the City of Newton approved a $450,000 IFA loan on behalf of the limited liability company. The city will act as a pass-thru for the funding of the loan, sending Hotel Maytag Investorsí progress billings to IFA for payment. Funds will then be forwarded to Hotel Maytag Investors. The city will be reimbursed five percent of all approved requests by IFA.

Sidewalk & signage

The Newton City Council will also decide whether to approve a real estate easement between the city and Newton Elite Properties for streetscape improvements. This easement would include a permanent pedestrian sidewalk along East 12th Street South and way-finding signage on property near First Avenue East. No cost is associated with the easement.

Changes to street parking

Spurred by a citizen complaint regarding Woodrow Wilson School studentsí vehicles stopping, standing or parking in a no parking zone and blocking neighborhood driveways until school is dismissed, the parking situation around the building will be discussed, which is also causing safety issues for students and motorists.

After reviewing the situation, the Traffic Safety Committee recommended creating a school queue zone in the 500 to 600 blocks of South Ninth Avenue West.

Flood insurance

The council will also read the third consideration of an ordinance amendment required by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Department of Homeland Security to maintain Newtonís status within the National Flood Insurance Program. Newly prepared flood maps would be in effect by Oct. 5.

Lighting project

City Hall, the water department, atrium, council chambers and Newton Police Department could switch its lighting system to LEDs.

Upon the councilís approval of the $17,835 City Hall/Police Department 2018 Lighting Replacement Project, Van Mannen Electric, of Newton, will be contracted to complete the task.

The savings in electrical use will pay for itself in about five years.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

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