City Works With PCDA On CDBG Opportunity
April M. Fronick • Editor
The Louisiana city council has signed off on a deal that will eliminate a liability while securing a piece of history.
The caboose in downtown Louisiana offered a glimpse of the past and was a conversation piece for passers-by, but had become dangerous as it deteriorates at the corner of Georgia and Fourth Streets. Though the city didn’t have the financial means to restore the historic piece, members of the city council didn’t want to see it demolished either.
City Administrator Bob Jenne said an ideal solution came along recently. Representatives of a railway museum in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, offered to pay $500 for the caboose and haul it to their facility. The council unanimously agreed to the deal during the meeting on Monday, Feb. 13.
The mission of the Midwest Central Railroad is to preserve and commemorate railway heritage for the educational benefit and enjoyment for current and future generations. Jenne noted it was the best possible solution to remove the liability without destroying the caboose.
In other business, the council also signed off on a deal with the Pike County Development Authority (PCDA), which recently became part of the county government. The council agreed to have PCDA write a Community Development Block Grant for street paving and curbing in the industrial park. Press-Journal Printing is looking to construct a larger facility in the industrial park. Jenne said the company is also taking part in Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) incentives. The council agreed to allow Jenne to move forward with the company’s application for incentives and unanimously approved a motion for PCDA to write the grant.
Jenne explained that because PCDA is a county entity now the fees are all up front and it behooves the city to do business with them. In the past, grants have been written by Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments (MTRCG). Jenne pointed out that PCDA’s fees were also lower.
The council agreed to a $2,000 up-front grant-writing fee and terms that included five percent of the total grant for administrative fees. Jenne said that preliminary estimates project the street and curbing will cost around $137,000.
The council also discussed the demolition grant that was written by MTRCG. Jenne told members that according to the final contract, the city is responsible for up to $11,900. In-kind work may be counted against that total. Kent Adams, the city’s building inspector, received training for asbestos inspection and will conduct those as part of the grant. The cost of training and the fees for inspections may be counted. Jenne told the council he would make sure this is part of the agreement.
A total of 14 derelict properties are included in the grant. If the city were responsible for the total $11,900 it would work out to $850 per property and the owners are responsible for $200 each.
Other items discussed by the council included the municipal swimming pool. Negotiations continue with the Twin Pike Family YMCA for services to operate the facility during the summer. Jenne is currently seeking bids for work that will bring the pool into ADA compliance. He said that he will work with YMCA Executive Director Marsha Garrison on a deal that if the city pays for improvements then administrative fees for operating the pool will be lowered or eliminated.
Jenne also updated the council on the town branch. He explained that ownership remains in question and that federal legislation in Hannibal may have bearing on Louisiana’s situation. Repairs need to be made to the branch following flash flooding last summer.
Jenne also told council members that he will continue to work on securing a system for displaying city ordinances. Currently ordinances are placed on a bulletin board inside city hall for public review prior to passage. Complaints have been made that the public doesn’t have adequate access. The city is looking to install an outside bulletin where ordinances can be on display at all times along with meeting dates and other important information. It was also pointed out that proposed ordinances will also be available for review on the city’s website.
Finally, while wing dikes were not approved by the Corps of Engineers, a plan for boat docks was approved. John Carroll agreed to donate items toward the installation of docks south of the current boat ramp. Another ramp will have to be constructed to the parking area. The city hopes to have the plan complete by mid-summer. Jenne is currently seeking bids.
The council is also seeking bids to begin repairing the stone walls in Riverview Cemetery. Kathy Smith suggested work begin behind the statue at the entrance.