Council OKs land exchange

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


During a recent meeting the city approved an agreement with a local property owner that would make the city the owner of a small tract of land at the end of West Seventh Street.

During the regular meeting on Dec. 5, city administrator Brent Hinson explained the property would be used to provide a shorter route to access the Wellness Park. He said the route would be much shorter than trying to build an access road from Fifth Street along the approximate route of the north water tower. The property had belonged to Joe and Kathy Wallace. After an initial meeting, Joe Wallace had passed away and the city had not proceeded with discussions on the land until recently.

?I believe this agreement provides an excellent deal to both parties,? Hinson said.

According to the agreement, the city is giving $10,000 and a smaller parcel of land to allow for the setback of an existing garage.

During the meeting, Mayor Sandra Johnson said she had gone back through the contract to find the definition of the word ?project,? saying she had concerns about the assessment schedule. The referenced ?project? meant the road paving project and not the entire Wellness Park project.

Hinson explained part of the road would be paved soon and the second part would be paved later.

The council unanimously approved the exchange.

The basic design of the proposed Wellness Park to be constructed on 46 acres along Fifth Street and North D Avenue has been released and builders still want input from the people of Washington on the amenities to be constructed into the park. The nine-question survey can be found on the internet at The site also will include the progress of the Wellness Park. There is no schedule of phases for the project, nor is there a cost estimate at this point.

The schedule indicates from here, another committee meeting to refine the draft using public comments will be held later this month. The design is anticipated to be complete this month.

Bid opening for one phase is expected in April 2018 and bid letting is expected in May 2018.

Last June, the Washington City Council approved the $158,000 engineering proposal from MSA Professional Services of Ankeny to design and aid in construction of the city?s Wellness Park.In December 2016, the council had indicated it wanted to move ahead with the project and leave $1 million in this year?s budget to be spent on the park.

The city sold about 5 acres of land on the proposed Wellness Park to the Y to be used for the construction of a new building. After the failure of a bond referendum to help fund the building, the YMCA announced in May it plans to collect funding for a new $9 million facility to be constructed at West Fifth Street and North D Avenue as well as future expansions. The Washington City Council also approved partnering with the YMCA of Washington County to seek a mutual grant from Enhance Iowa.