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March 15, 2010

The annexation question

OSKALOOSA — When the question of annexation comes up, dialogue is key.

The city of Oskaloosa recently invited residents living near the Lacey Recreation Complex to meet at the Mahaska Community Recreation Foundation building to discuss annexation.

The city sent out 79 invitations to Thursday’s meeting of Mahaska County residents facing annexation, as well as those county residents near the proposed annexation area.

Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock Jr., members of the Oskaloosa City Council, Oskaloosa City Attorney Dave Dixon and Mahaska County Engineer Jerry Nusbaum were all on hand to dole out information and address concerns over annexation near the Lacey Recreation Complex.

Schrock said that after some discussion between the city and Mahaska County, it was determined the city should go forward with an annexation effort in northwest Oskaloosa.

The city is required to come up with a comprehensive plan for their future and part of that is planning for “future growth,” Schrock said. This plan includes foreseeable road construction and other infrastructure such as adding sewer and gas lines.

“The idea is that we know growth is going to occur,” said Schrock. “So what we want to do is make sure in occurs in a smart way and reflect what’s important to this community.”

The city has contracted Garden And Associates of Oskaloosa to design and construct Green Street/Lavene Avenue, a roadway that leads from Oskaloosa to the Lacey Complex, said Schrock. He added, construction on this roadway will begin this summer.

Schrock noted the new stadium project at the Lacey Complex as a motivation for annexation, as well.

“Logic says that when you start building nice facilities like this you’re probably going to have houses that show up eventually,” said Schrock. “People like to live near new schools, they like to live near new recreational amenities.”

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