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Plan to eliminate Otter Creek Lake and Park residence is questioned

August 31, 2019
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Whether it has "Good Bones" like the new HGTV television program featuring homes to be rehabilitated remains to be determined. But 1st District Supervisor Larry Vest said he wants to find out if the park officer/conservation board director's unoccupied home at Otter Creek Park and Lake northeast of Toledo does.

He made a case during the Monday, Aug. 28, Board of Supervisors meeting for additional assessments of the house at rural Toledo. It has been vacant since the retirement and subsequent relocation of Tama County Conservation Board Director Robert Etzel and family in early summer following his retirement.

Logan Roberts, Etzel's replacement, told supervisors on Monday the Conservation Board wants to raze much of the house but maintain the lower level portion for storage.

Article Photos

The home at Otter Creek and Lake and Park which had provided a residence for the Tama County Conservation Board director who oversaw lake and park operations is seen in this Aug. 27, 2019, photo. The board is proposing to eliminate the housing portion and convert the remaining basement area for storage.
News-Herald/John Speer

Vest questioned if the house could not be rebuilt as a residence for Roberts. He said he has had personal experience in rehabilitating homes and believed it should be established this one is beyond repair.

Roberts said one estimate put a $150,000 price tag on the work. Vest said this should be compared to the price of new construction and the ongoing cost of a housing subsidy paid to the director.

The final decision is said to rest with the Conservation Board but it appeared Monday supervisors are calling for an evaluation of the property before other action is taken.

Roberts said the Conservation Board favors directing any funds available for the home to the upcoming Otter Creek Lake and Park restoration program. She said a project proposal for this is expected by the board by the end of September.

Some phases of the project for the 529 acre lake and park will likely be undertaken in 2020.

A closure of the park in the year 2021 will not take place, Roberts said. The News-Herald reported in error earlier it would.

In other business Monday the supervisors:

approved 3rd reading of a tanning bed program and adopted and ordinance setting forth regulations for inspection and operation. The ordinance adopted mirrors the State of Iowa tanning bed program which discontinued overseeing inspections on July 1.

changed the regular Monday meeting date to Sept. 3 because of Labor Day.

approved claims totaling $214,245.



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