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DNR brings riverbank solutions

Planning survey eyed; cost share available

August 8, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer (apeterson@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

Nate Hoogeveen, River Programs coordinator of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, addressed the Estherville City Council at Monday night's meeting about the breaches in the West Fork of the Des Moines River, especially in the area of Riverside Park.

"The lowhead dam has been a hazard since 2008. Around that time, there were drownings around the state," Hoogeveen said.

The DNR already has placed Estherville on a tentative schedule for a planning survey, Hoogeveen said.

The lowhead dams have lasted 50-100 years on an expected 50-year lifecycle, and there are cracks, Hoogeveen said.

"Over time they will eventually fail with constant water flow over them and floods. Once they start eroding the soft banks it needs intervention," Hoogeveen said.

Pipes running underneath the river need something to protect them as well, Hoogeveen said.

The good news is that an up to 50 percent cost share is available from the DNR, and additional money could be available from the U.S. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife.

The council asked Hoogeveen to report to them after the planning survey was complete.

The council also approved a development agreement with Estherville Area Growth Partnership for a grant to allow the Partnership to acquire the land at 1710 Central Avenue for business development. Under the agreement the city will advance $65,000 to the Tax Increment Revenue Fund from the Electric Emergency Fund. Proceeds from the property sale would return to the fund. The Partnership has made contact with an interested buyer who would develop the land into a Kwik Star fuel station and convenience store.

Council member Cindy Hood said, "I have a problem with giving away money that you're never going to recoup. You're throwing away taxpayers' money, gambling with taxpayers' money."

Hood added, "I just think we have other buildings and areas to develop."

Clayton said, "This is one of those opportunities in which time is crucial. I view this more as a reinvestment. You take an area of town, make substantial improvements, and over time you've created a block that's a hotbed of activity."

Council member Brandon Clayton said, "I'm with the optimal timing. Any investment has some risk that goes with it."

Clayton added, "Our long-term goal is to create jobs and bring in companies that add to the tax base. We're in this business for life."

 
 
 

 

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