Three things to know from Toledo Council

1. Contractor Ray Pettengill of La Porte City was before the Toledo City Council during their regular meeting on Sept. 13. Pettengill is the owner of the property at 124 N Broadway St. that formerly held a two-story apartment building two doors north of Bumblebee’s Pizza.

The building was recently demolished following catastrophic damage sustained during the 2020 derecho.

Pettengill would like to submit a building permit for a 30’x72′ new building to be constructed on the lot. The proposed commercial structure would include an eight-foot setback from the curb as well as a 16-foot overhead door that would be installed at the front of the building and flow onto Broadway Street.

Pettengill said he hopes to sell the building once it’s complete and that prospective buyers that he’s talked to indicated they would only be interested if the overhead door was at the front of the building.

According to Pettengill, the alley running behind the building is too steep and too narrow to negotiate backing in a truck or a trailer into the rear of the building.

The reason the property would not be suitable for another apartment building was because Pettengill believed it was too narrow of a lot to accommodate modern building standards for apartments and that the money he had available to construct it wouldn’t be enough to build apartments.

The council tabled the issue and asked Pettengill to connect with Tama County Economic Development to investigate if there were other potential buyers out there that could use the building without requiring an overhead door in the front.

2. City Administrator and Public Works Director Kendall Jordan presented a request to the council to post an open position for the Toledo Public Works Department. The opening comes as long-time Public Works employee and Woodlawn Cemetery Sexton Mark Dvorak announced his retirement coming up at the end of October.

Dvorak’s career with the city will have spanned 26 years and nine months.

While at the meeting Monday Dvorak said, “I’ve always said that I’ll try to do my best until the day I retire.”

Jordan said he hopes to have the hiring process complete by the end of September and to have the new employee beginning to onboard in October.

3. A number of alley sales measures went before the council Monday. The council approved a sale of the alley east of 204 W Carleton St to John Purk for 15 cents per square foot.

A public hearing was held on the vacation of the alley between 119 and 121 W High Street on the south side of the downtown square.

The council hearing no feedback during the hearing vacated the alley and set a public hearing for the sale of the alley on Oct. 11 to Michael Marquess.

Marquess earlier expressed an intent to the council to develop the open ground adjoining the alley into a two-story commercial office building with apartments on the upper floor.

Tom Scharnweber was also before the council to begin the process for requesting to purchase an alley behind Iowa Step and Tank near the north end of the Scharnweber, Inc. office.

The council voiced no opposition to Scharnweber pursuing the sale and indicated the alley vacation and purchase process would begin at an upcoming meeting.

In other business…

The council approved a budget amendment that included a number of unexpected revenues and expenses for the 2022 fiscal year. Those included $160,000 in American Rescue Plan funds, the expiration of the Kids Corner Daycare operating bond, $18,000 in additional expenses for the police station renovation work that was not completed in the previous fiscal year, the fire department replacing three emergency sirens for $79,000 and $30,000 in repair costs to the public works salt shed and the Toledo Heights Park slide.

Part of the emergency siren funds were covered by a grant from the Mansfield Foundation.

Council member Cathy Cook updated the council on a sidewalk project she is working on that would provide an incentive for property owners to install new sidewalks or repair existing sidewalks in an effort to make the city more walkable.

Cook said she envisioned a program that would partner with a local bank to provide a low interest, 10-year loan to fund the projects. She also hoped to recruit local contractors to complete the work in as efficient and cost-effective a way possible.

Cook also stated she could see her project collaborating with the efforts of the Community Visioning program currently being done in Toledo and Tama. At the present time no proposals for the sidewalk project have been put before the council to consider.

The Halloween Trick-or-Treat date and time was set in Toledo for Sunday, Oct. 31 from 5-7 p.m.