Jeff council closes out facade project, okays comprehensive plan update

Businesses around the downtown square in Jefferson that have been without signage since last summer can now put signs back on their storefronts.

The Jefferson city council at its April 10 meeting approved the final pay estimated to Pinnacle Construction for the façade project. With that, the project is officially finished and business owners are once again in charge of their storefronts. They were not able to put signs back up until the entire project was complete.

Jefferson Matters: Main Street received a “Best Practices” award at an Iowa Main Street conference last week for exemplary collaboration with the city of Jefferson on the façade rehabilitation project.

The city council is moving toward a second façade improvement project.

The first was funded by a $500,000 Community Development Block grant, $250,000 in city funding, and a total of $250,000 from building owners. Phase Two will not include grant funds; the $600,000 project will be paid for with $300,000 in city funds matched by another $300,000 from building owners.

City administrator Mike Palmer said the project would include 8-12 buildings, and that participants will get “more bang for the buck” because without federal funds involved, use of an architect won’t be required, nor will prevailing wage considerations. He said more information will be available in the next few weeks.

The city council also approved a contract with Region XII Council of Governments to update the city’s comprehensive plan. The last update was done in 2005. Region XII will look at 15 different elements before writing the plan, including public participation, issues and opportunities, land use, three elements dealing with housing, public infrastructure and utilities, transportation, economic development, agriculture and natural resource, community facilities, community character, hazards, intergovernmental collaboration and implementation.

Cost of the plan is $22,000. The city is paying for it with funds received from Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation.

Mayor Craig Berry said during his report that he is sending an email to the Iowa Department of Transportation regarding the resurfacing this summer of Highway 4 (N. Elm St). He said the plans do not include milling down the present surface. By overlaying the new surface on the existing surface, the curb will become too shallow and possibly create water issues for property owners along the street.

The resurfacing project will be completed this summer. City officials hope it will be scheduled to be completed before July 23, the day RAGBRAI® will be in Jefferson, or not started until after that date.

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