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Tama Council hears call for housing clean up

June 8, 2013
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

"To attract people to move into the area, we have to do something about (some of the existing) properties," Tama businessperson Tracy Brady told members of the city council Monday night.

There have been ongoing concerns voiced both by and to the Tama Council about abandoned and vacant homes in the city over the past several years.

"We're going to need housing for people coming in with the pack," Brady said.

Article Photos

Tracy Brady

Brady was referring to the expected start up of the Iowa Premium Beef plant on Tama's east side which is expected to hire 600 meatpackers upon start-up and planned to expand to 950 employees in a couple of years.

Brady said he counted 20 homes "which were vacant from 7th Street south in Tama this morning."

He said he was bringing the issue to the council on behalf of the downtown business group of which he is a member. "I'd rather see them fixed up," Brady said of the rundown homes.

Brady is a former Tama zoning administrator and admitted the problem existed "eight or nine years ago when I was in the position."

Mayor Dan Zimmerman said there was agreement "we've got to do something." He said Police Chief Dan Wilkens may be willing to take over duties of zoning administrator for Tama after his retirement in July.

Council member Steve Baier said problems with housing have existed since he became a council member. He cited the expense the city has encountered in dealing with abandoned properties to have them removed.

Council members mentioned banks now hold title to a number of the houses and might be willing to work with the city.

Downtown Park

Brady also said the downtown committee is continuing to look at suggestions for the Pocket Park in he 200 block of West 3rd. While a number f ideas have surfaced, he cautioned plans should not be too elaborate in case someone wished to buy the vacant lots form the city and build a new business building.

The proposed park is between Brady and Associates Insurance- Back Door Dinners and the Willett and Rathjen Law Office. Tama acquired the lots after one building became structurally unsafe and the second had been vacant for a number of years.

IQB Roadway Plans

Iowa Quality Beef is considering relocating the truck loading docks from the wets to the south side of the plant building. Mayor Zimmerman reported a meeting with pack officials, Street Superintendent Stuart Eisentrager and himself revealed the company wants to tear down the guard shack and weigh scales cover on the southwest corner of the property and route trucks to the south.

The plan will require some work on L Avenue, Zimmerman said. He said the packing plant's engineer is expected to present a complete plan on the possible change for council study.

Police, City Appointments

Tama Police Detective Kimberly Schwartz was appointed and accepted the position of Tama police sergeant on the five-officer force. The appointment is effective in July upon the retirement of Chief Wilkens.,

Current Sgt. Jeff Filloon has been appointed police chief.

The city will advertise for the vacant police patrol officer position created as the result of the retirement.

The resignation of Anne Michael from the Tama-Toledo Aquatic Center Board was accepted and Jake Jacobson was approved to return to the board to fill the unexpired term.

Audrey Elliott was appointed to a second term on the Tama Public Library Board.

Raise Mowing Charges

Properties in the city which are not mowed will be assessed an increased fee if the city must order the work done. The current charge of $100 for a residence with a yard of up to 10,000 sq. ft. was raised to $200 and over 10,000 sq. ft. will cost $400.

Commercial and business property fees were raised from $100 hourly to $200 hourly.

In other business the council:

learned paint striping of the center line on Business Route 30 will cost between $800-$900.

approved a Region 6 Housing Rehabilitation payment to Quality Roofing and Siding for a residence at 213 East 3rd totaling $30,158.

approved a tax abatement in the Indian Hills addition for Robbie Chamberlin under the city revitalization plan.

approved payment to Twin Cities Construction for curb work primarily on Park Street for a total of $39,080.

approved purchase of a 4" pump for water for $3,262 from Fastenal, Marshalltown.

approved a liquor sales license renewal for the Fraternal Order of the Eagles.



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