"Mill and fill" project to begin on Hwy. 92/A Avenue

Angie Holland | The HeraldIf approved by the city council, stop signs will be placed at the intersection of Marje Court and South Second Street as well as other intersections in the Marje Addition and Gateway Commercial Park areas.

OSKALOOSA — An Iowa Department of Transportation road rehabilitation “mill and fill” project is slated to begin in the next few weeks.

According to the Asphalt Paving Association of Iowa, the “mill and fill” process involves removing 1–4 inches from the existing roadway and re-filling with asphalt.

Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock said the project will start at the Hwy. 92 interchange with Hwy. 163 and head east to just past the city limits.

“It’ll be extensive patching,” he said. “And they’re also going to do a 3-inch mill, and then they’ll do an asphalt overlay near the curb line so it’ll help address some of the issues that we’re seeing in town,”

Barricades are expected to be placed starting July 15, and work should commence shortly thereafter and continue through August.

Stop signs

If approved by the city council at future meetings, stop signs will be set in place to help traffic flow and safety in areas undergoing development.

The council heard the first reading of a plan to place stop signs at four intersections in the Marje Addition and Gateway Commercial Park areas. It takes three readings of an ordinance to take effect, unless the council votes to waive the second and third readings.

If approved, eastbound and westbound vehicles will stop at the intersection of South Second Street and Marje Court/Greenbelt Drive. A stop sign will be placed for eastbound vehicles at 17th Avenue East and South Fifth Street. Westbound vehicles will stop at the intersection of 17th Avenue East and Greenbelt Drive. A stop for eastbound vehicles will be placed at the intersection of Gateway Drive and Coal Mine Loop.

Urban renewal area

The city council approved an amendment to the urban renewal area plan. The plan was originally adopted in 1978 and has been amended several times, according to information from the city council. The most recent amendment was in 2014.

According to city council information, the general scope of the urban renewal activities in the amendment is to promote growth and retention of qualified industries and businesses and to rehabilitate, conserve and redevelop land, buildings and other improvements in the area.

The amendment allows the city to issue bonds or use available funds for purposes allowed by the plan, as amended, and tax increment reimbursement of the costs of urban renewal projects may be sought.

Other objectives included confirming the objectives and types of urban renewal projects that may be undertaken by the city, as well as confirming a list of proposed projects. Additionally, land may be added to the urban renewal area.

The council approved Amendment No. 2 to the Amended and Restated Urban Renewal Area plan. Proposed projects include public improvements such as streetscape improvements in the Main Street district and corridors, including new sidewalks, street lighting, traffic signals way-finding signage, street reconstruction, added parking and repair and replacement of aging infrastructure. An estimated timeframe for that project is 2019-2023, with a cost to be financed with tax increment financing (TIF).

Other improvements, such as redevelopment, repair and reconstruction of city-owned parking lots, and reconstruction of South Seventh Street near industrial businesses.

Blight remediation and a workforce housing project are also listed in the urban renewal plan, as well as the Early Childhood Education and Recreation Center.

Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock said a consultation meeting was held, which is required as part of the process to adopt an amendment to the urban renewal plan.

“None of the affected taxing entities showed up to the meeting to provide any comment,” he said, “and we did not receive anything in writing.”

Oskaloosa Gateway Project development agreement

An agreement was approved between the city and Oskaloosa Gateway Hotel. The developer agrees to construct a hotel with all related site improvements. Estimated construction costs are expected to be $11.3 million and the property shall be assessed a value of at least $5,000,000. As part of the agreement, the developer requests a performance-based economic development grant/rebate of up to $850,000 over a 10-year period of time.

Minimum improvements, according to city council information, include a hotel with approximately 76 guest rooms, 24 suites, a meeting room, indoor pool, business center and a breakfast area.

City manager

Following a closed session regarding the performance of the city manager, Schrock’s contract was extended until June 15, 2023. The council also agreed to a 2.6 percent increase ($3,586) per year.

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