As I go about my everyday life in Fort Madison, I have the opportunity to talk to a number of different people. Those people tend to have questions for me when they learn what I do for a living. Many of those questions have to do with various projects that the city is involved in. I wanted to try and answer a few of those questions here in this column by giving an update on a few city projects.
Depot Restoration – This project has been at least five years in coming and we will have to wait a little bit longer to get it done. We are now about ¾ of the way done with the complete project of opening the depot building to Amtrak travelers. We have completed the first three phases (raising the buildings-1st; site improvements-2nd; interior renovations-3rd). It was exciting to see the building lifted up and then have the site raised to meet it. It looks now like it has always been at the present elevation. We are running into challenges with some newly adopted Federal Railroad Administration regulations so we can finalize the plans and begin construction on Phase 4-passenger platform construction. We are very excited to see this project at its current place.
Downtown Renovations – The façade renovation grant through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is moving along. Contracts have been awarded and we are moving forward with the renovation of the outsides of 13 buildings in downtown Fort Madison. Downtown will look very different when this project is completed.
Water Treatment Plant – We are nearing completion of this very large and very important project. With all that has been done, we have solidified the future water supply of Fort Madison for many decades to come. The last piece of this project is the demolition of the old water treatment plant. That is underway and we hope to complete this during our current fiscal year.
Denmark Hill Landslide – In the spring of 2010, we received a lot of rain and during those rains, we had a tremendous landslide in the Old Denmark Road area. This slide began to damage the road in the area. Because of a subsequent disaster declaration for our area, the City became eligible for FEMA funding to help fix this problem. We had quite a process getting all of the ducks in a row but this project is currently under construction. Work is being done to repair the slide area and then the road.
- Ave D Bridge – As many of you know the bridge over French Creek on Avenue D between 16th and 17th Streets had some significant deterioration. About two years ago, the City closed the bridge to all pedestrian and vehicular traffic in order to keep people safe. We applied for and received a grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation to replace the bridge. We have hired engineers to design the new bridge and prepare plans and put it out to bid. We are planning to see this project under construction early next year. We want to thank the neighbors for their patience on this project. We know it is an inconvenience. Sometimes these kinds of projects take an extra-long time to complete because of the state or federal money that we use to fund the project.
This is just a brief update on a few projects, but if you have further questions or suggestions for future columns, please contact me at 319-372-7700x203 or click here Byron Smith.