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Government Notes: Cedar Rapids considering Colonial Center renovation plans
Also, deadline to apply for Iowa City Council vacancy quickly approaching
The Cedar Rapids City Council will hold a public hearing Jan. 10 to consider plans for an estimated $4.665 million renovation of the former Colonial Center building into affordable housing units.
The council in November awarded $2.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the project. The building is at 1500 Second Ave. SE in Wellington Heights.
The facility was purchased by the city in December 2021, as staff eyed potentially renovating the once-vacant office space into 25 affordable housing units. Community Development Director Jennifer Pratt has said five of these units will be fully accessible.
To supplement the ARPA funds, Cedar Rapids is using about $2.6 million between two grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the building’s acquisition and rehabilitation.
After the renovation is complete, the city will issue a request for qualifications to transfer the ownership and management of the property to another entity. According to the city, a lien will be placed on the property to ensure affordability for at least 15 years to secure this investment, and there will be ongoing performance measures to ensure accountability.
Deadline to apply for Iowa City Council vacancy nearing
The deadline to apply for the vacancy on the Iowa City Council is quickly approaching. Those interested have until Tuesday to submit their application.
As of last week, there have been 14 applications submitted. Submitted applications are available for the public on the city’s website as part of information packets ahead of the next city council meeting. The application became available on Nov. 21.
The council voted unanimously in November to fill the vacancy by appointment instead of holding a special election. The appointee will succeed council member Janice Weiner, who resigned Nov. 9 after being elected a state senator to represent District 45.
One year is left on Weiner’s four-year, at-large council term, which runs through Jan. 2, 2024. Her resignation is effective Jan. 1.
The application is available online at iowa-city.org/forms/council-vacancy-application, or a paper copy can be picked up at City Hall, 410 E. Washington St.
The application asks those interested to describe their background, what contributions they could make and what their current knowledge of the council is, among other questions.
The council will fill the vacancy at a special meeting at 3 p.m. Jan. 10 at City Hall.
Johnson County cities prepare for Christmas tree collection
Cities in Johnson County are preparing to help residents dispose of their Christmas trees during the month of January.
Iowa City residents can bring their natural, unflocked trees to the curb for collection during their normal pickup day. All decorations should be removed and do not place the tree in a plastic bag.
Johnson County Refuse will collect discarded Christmas trees from North Liberty residents in early January on their normal collection day free of charge. This includes Jan. 3, 4, 10 and 11.
Trees placed at the curb after Jan. 11 in North Liberty will need a Johnson County Refuse yard bag attached to pay for the collection.
In Coralville, Christmas trees will be picked up curbside at no charge throughout January. The trees and greenery will be shredded for mulch and used on city trails. Trees larger than six feet should be cut into sections.
Pickup of trees may not occur on the regular garbage day, and residents are encouraged to contact the city for more information by calling 319-248-1740.
Residents in Johnson County who do not have curbside composting can bring their trees to the Iowa City Landfill’s compost facility. The tree will be composted at no cost. The landfill, located at 3900 Hebl Ave. SW, is open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Marion seeking nominations for Community Impact Award
The City of Marion and Chamber of Commerce are seeking nominations for the now-annual Morris F. Neighbor Community Impact award.
The nomination portal is currently open through Jan. 31. This is the second year for the award, which seeks an individual, couple or organization “whose volunteerism and outstanding service and dedication have made a significant impact on the Marion community.”
“The ideal candidate has made a positive difference in the lives of fellow residents, continually volunteers in the Marion community, demonstrates the spirit of collaboration and is enthusiastic about the community and its residents, and models honest and integrity, exemplary character and leadership either as an individual or through an organization,” the nomination description reads.
The recipient of the award will be recognized and announced during the annual Marion State of the City event in March.
The award is named in recognition of banker Morris F. Neighbor. Neighbor began his career at Farmers State Bank in 1945 as a teller and in 1968 he and his wife, Betty, purchased the bank. Through his leadership, the Neighbor family has given to multiple capital campaigns, community events and charitable nonprofit groups over the years.
Troy and Katie Benham were the first recipients of the award last year. The couple, owners of Marion Tire Co., are known for organizing cancer benefits, spearheading the Salvation Army’s “Miles for Smile” vehicle giveaway and raising money for Thanksgiving meals.
Government Notes is published Mondays and contains updates from area government bodies. Marissa Payne, Gage Miskimen, Izabela Zaluska and Grace King of The Gazette contribute.