Council moves forward on Crosswalk
Thu, 03/16/2023 - 4:25pm admin
—Cresco members hold off on 7th St. W project
Marcie Klomp ~ News Editor email@example.com
CRESCO - Council members heard from business and property owners along the downtown area of N. Elm St. and 7th St. W. at the regular monthly meeting on March 6.
Daren Sikkink and Scott Huneke of WHKS were on hand to answer questions.
Sikkink started off by saying, “Thursday (March 2) we had an informational meeting on the Crosswalk Project. We listened to the concerns.” He noted there was some discussion on the elimination of some crosswalks.
“We are trying to make them all ADA available. Some of the concerned areas are mid-block. Our proposal was to keep the ramps at the intersections. More crosswalks could be added back in, but it would be difficult.”
They wanted to put the handicapped spaces closer to the intersection and possibly add more handicapped spaces.
He stated although the alleys are not ADA compliant, they would also work for accessibility.
Shirlee Haw of Cresco Family Dentistry, which is at mid-block, said her concern was for the loss of crosswalks. “The plan has it to put crosswalks at 3rd Ave. and 1st Ave., as well as two crosswalks going straight across to the courthouse. They are within 50-60 feet of each other, and there is 440 feet to the other ones. It doesn’t make sense to me to put two that close.”
She added if the two crosswalks came straight across from North and South Park Place it would more evenly distribute the crosswalks.
Dr. Jeff Haw also spoke. “As one who has dealt with handicapped individuals my entire life, prior to ADA, I have a great appreciation for the ADA compliance. But I don’t think that ADA compliance should necessarily trump the needs of the citizens.”
He continued, “There sometimes needs to be a certain amount of flexibility to meet the needs of the people and not the needs of the regulation.”
He asked Sikkink if WHKS had ever been involved with a City that was sued over ADA compliance. Sikkink answered no, “But we do try to help cities avoid that.”
Councilperson Amy Bouska observed, “When you get the ramps coming up mid-block, all of a sudden the sidewalk tilts, because of the ramp. I think that would be dangerous.” She suggested having non-compliant ramps at mid-block that were steeper and further into the street.
Council members Rich McConnell, Alex Fortune, Jan Carman and Gary Kriener voted yes. After some hesitation, Bouska said, “I keep thinking of my mother. And it’s a long walk. The (Haws) are right. If we are going to do something, I think it should be a mid-block, non-compliant ramp and I’m thinking we can do that afterwards and can do it later as an amendment. I’m going to vote yes, but I’m really torn up about this one.”
7th St. West
On the second project, Sikkink said, “We learned a lot of things from property owners during the informational meeting.” He also said the schedule will allow access to the fairgrounds.
Huneke met with property owners earlier in the day.
“Everything from Highway 9 north is straight forward.”
Sikkink gave Council four options for moving ahead with the project.
1. Originally it was planned to direct water south on 7th St. to the Plantpeddler property with a natural drainage way crossing it.
2. Go along the south side of Hwy. 9 from 7th St. down to Airport Road and garner easements from property owners.
3. Go on the north side of Hwy. 9, along the area of Sleepy Hollow and cross the highway at Airport Road.
4. Rebury it is in currently, in Hwy. 9. It would be the south portion of Hwy. 9. This would be an opportune time with the bridge project being done by the state west of town.
Sikkink, “Since we have to meet with property owners and garnering easements. It could take a couple weeks to organize prices.”
Currently the low spot is between Sleepy Hollow and A&W, with a pipe that runs across the Sleepy Hollow parking lot to Airport Road intersection. That pipe is severely under-sized.
Mike Gooder said the bigger problem is going against the drainage law. “You are moving water from the Upper Iowa Watershed to the Turkey River Watershed, which means you really need an easement from anyone downstream . . . all the way to the Mississippi River. You can’t legally move water from one watershed to another watershed.”
He added years ago the railroad split the two watersheds.
Another issue was the retention pond on the southeast part of the airport property. Gooder stated that is where a sink hole is located.
Sikkink said the water is being treated by the pond. The pond is 88,300 cubic feet as the filtration volume.
Gary Gooder said, “Right now, the whole town was designed to go north. It was never meant to go south.” He added, “We have to grow this town north, on the Granger Road.”
Mayor Dave Brenno asked Sikkink about the watershed. “We’d have to have the City’s attorney look into drainage laws. We kinda knew we were right on the edge. I would refer that to the City attorney.” He noted there are also flooding issues on the north side of the tracks, which WHKS is ultimately trying to resolve.
Bouska said, “It seems to me that we have reached a situation where we can’t go ahead right now. We need more direction.”
Before getting ready to vote on proceeding with the 7th St. project, McConnell said, “I don’t think we can do anything right now. We have to fix this.”
The City attorney will be notified, and WHKS will wait for the answers.