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Officials debate Sixth Avenue Northwest job

Bemrich may veto

September 20, 2012
By BILL SHEA ( , Messenger News

A contract for rebuilding part of Sixth Avenue Northwest in Fort Dodge has been awarded, but the debate over the job isn't over.

The project was one of a handful of issues Fort Dodge City Councilman Kim Alstott addressed during his public question and answer session Wednesday.

Alstott said he was never in favor of the project, and added that he hopes Mayor Matt Bemrich will veto it.

Bemrich said Wednesday afternoon that he hasn't decided if he will veto the project.

But Councilman Don Wilson said Bemrich is threatening a veto unless he gets some kind of new compromise on the proposed downtown street realignment that would join First and Second avenues south near Sixth Street.

"He's trying to blackmail the council and I don't like it," Wilson said.

Bemrich said he would not "dignify that with a response."

"The veto is my prerogative, not Mr. Wilson's," he said. "I have respect for Mr. Wilson's vote at the council table and I would hope he would have the same for me."

The downtown street realignment was the subject of an earlier compromise brokered by Alstott and Bemrich. That agreement would result in improvements to First Avenue South on the city's east side next year, followed by the downtown work in 2014.

During the Wednesday morning meeting, Alstott said he's particularly upset that the Sixth Avenue Northwest project includes building a $45,000 retaining wall to protect a garage he said is worth $3,000 to $4,000.

The City Council hired Hovey Construction Inc., of Fort Dodge, to rebuild Sixth Avenue Northwest between Second and Third streets northwest on a 4-2 vote on Sept. 10.

On an unrelated subject, Alstott said he believes MidAmerican Energy will begin burying the power lines on First Avenue South between Veterans Bridge and 29th Street this fall as part of the crosstown connector project.

The council is tentatively scheduled to have a workshop discussion regarding underground utilities on Oct. 8. It will likely act on approving an agreement with MidAmerican Energy during its Oct. 22 meeting.

The actual burial of the power lines is most likely to start next spring, according to City Manager David Fierke.

During Wednesday's meeting, Alstott said the possibility of turning the old Expo Pool site on North Seventh Street into a park where people could allow their dogs to run unleashed has been discussed. He said the council is awaiting information from Lori Branderhorst, the director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

Alstott said he is in favor of creating an independent authority to manage the North Central Ag Industrial Park. That site is west of the city in Webster County, but the city government provides water and sanitary sewer service to it.



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