Friday, May 28, 2010

Remembering and Rebuilding

Memorial Day is a special day for those of us lucky enough to have served our country in the military. We know the dangers and we know that special feeling deep down of the pride and love we have for our country. It is a special time for remembering those who died serving their country and reflecting on their sacrifice. Do we have the same courage? What would we do in their place? These are questions I ask young people who think about entering the service. It may not be the type of questions that a recruiter may ask, but I feel that anyone thinking of serving needs to honestly think about the answers they would give.

The picture above is the beginning of the construction of the new Benton County Law Enforcement Center in downtown Vinton. The county folks went through a lot to get this thing started and I am sure they and we will be proud of the building when it is completed. The construction end date is set for May 2011.

Friday, May 21, 2010

10th Street Project Bids Received

This week has flown by as usual. The week ended with receiving bids for the street improvement project that we have scheduled for this summer. This year the City is going to make improvements to 10th Street from 1st Avenue through the intersection at B Avenue. I thought this project would be much more expensive that our project last year on 9th Street since we are replacing a couple of manholes and the subdrain from the street runs north two blocks to 8th Street. The engineer's estimate was just over $201,000. Our lowest bid was for about $18,000 less than the estimate. This is excellent news. The Council will act on the bids next Thursday at their regular meeting on May 27.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Progress and Recovery

This has been a busy week with several progress and recovery milestones. Progress has been made on the new hotel on Highway 218 with the installation of the building sign and the opening of the new West 11th Street. A "soft" opening is scheduled for mid-June now. There are a couple of wedding parties booked at the hotel right after opening and it is sold out for Boomtown in September.

An unsafe building that has been an eyesore on West 4th Street has been demolished by its owner. This is one of several steps to clean up the "entrance" from Highway 218 into the downtown area. Another group of unsafe buildings on the west side Hinkle Creek on 4th Street is now owned by the city. Once some asbestos has been removed, these structures will also be demolished and the area turned into greenspace. This is part of our movement in flood recovery that has taken up a good part of my last two years since the 2008 flood.

Another couple of steps in the flood recovery have been made by our parks and recreation department. They have cleaned out a large residential garage that is next to the Cedar River that was bought out by the city after the flood. The plan is to convert the garage into a ope-air pavilion which is a use that is allowed by the buyout program on this greenspace. The department has also worked with ISU Extension to convert a few other buyout lots on East 2nd Street into community gardens.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Police Service Week

On Wednesday, May 5, 2010, Mayor John Watson signed a proclamation stating the City of Vinton, Iowa will observe Police Service Week from May 9 through May 15, 2010. The week honors the service of police officers in Vinton, the State of Iowa, the United States and around the world. It specifically honors those that have given their lives in the line of duty.

Pictured from left to right is Vinton Police Chief Jeff Tilson and Mayor of Vinton John Watson.