Council meets new SEED director

STRATFORD – Hamilton County SEED director Sarah Thompson introduced herself to the Stratford City Council when it met for its regular monthly session.

Thompson shared her background in the Main Street concept with the council and said she plans to be in the community weekly for several hours to work with business owners and the public.

Other business at the meeting included closure of the Downtown Revitalization Faade project. Two options were considered by the council: pay back the Iowa Economic Development Authority $16,714 for grant funds used during the initial process, or complete one building with IEDA requiring no match dollars. If more than one building was selected, the city must provide soft dollar matches.

IEDA suggested that the council consider renovating buildings that were owned by not-for profit entities, including the Stratford Food Center that was already in the process of renovating by the Stratford Community Development Corporation. The organization agreed to have their other buildings’ faade renovated. The Shakespeare Community Association agreed to have the community center faade renovated.

The council voted to approve the renovations to the facades of 813 and 826 Shakespeare Avenue, with the city to provide soft match documentation for these buildings, and approved the amendment letter to IEDA. Bid letting for the faade project will be held at the October city council meeting.

There will be a second public hearing at the October meeting as well, this one on the city’s intention to apply for $300,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding for additional work on Stratford’s Sanitary Sewer Inflow and Infiltration Project.

City Manager Rachel Cahill gave an update on another ongoing project, disassembly of the Stratford Historical Society Linn-Berglund cabin. Gregg Anderson has indicated that he was working on the inside of the cabin and still plans to have it disassembled by Nov. 1. The council requested another update at the October meeting.

In other business, the council discussed an ordinance from 1948 which was intended to vacate the north and south alley in block 14 of Teneyck’s Addition. The discussion focused on whether the assessment received justified the cost of going through the process of vacating the alley. The consensus was that it was not, especially because a city utility easement was still needed through the alley area, and the council voted to not follow through with the ordinance from 1948.

Reviewing the summer at the municipal swimming pool, Cahill said that attendance was down due to overall cool weather conditions, resulting in lower revenues and expenses. The pool operation resulted in a $14,908 draw from the general fund tax levies, down 7 percent from 2012.

The council set Oct. 31 as trick or treat night in Stratford from 5 to 7 p.m.

Also on Monday, the council approved:

Payment for the Stratford Development Corporation main Street dues of $2,000 for fiscal year 2013.

Participation in the Hamilton County Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The cost of $260 from Iowa Codification to supplement the city code with ordinance passed since the last codification in 2012.

A request from the Stratford Fire Department to cordon off city Streets for Cruise to the Woods on October 6.

The Stratford Fire and Rescue membership application for Taylor Jensen.