Courthouse HVAC set to be upgraded
By RICK MORAIN
For The Jefferson Herald
The Greene County board of supervisors approved a proposed heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) architectural contract Monday with the BBS firm of Des Moines for the Greene County courthouse.
The $134,850 contract, subject to examination by the county attorney’s office, is for design and construction administration services. The vote was unanimous by the four board members present. Supervisor Dawn Rudolph was absent.
Rough estimate for the HVAC construction itself is $1.2 million, according to County Engineer Wade Weiss. An architect’s walk-through visit to the courthouse was scheduled for the next day.
BBS is the successor firm to the original company that designed and supervised construction of the courthouse a century ago. BBS retains the original plans and specs for the building.
Bid letting for the project is several months away. Construction is expected to begin next March or April.
In other action, the board initiated the process of creating a new drainage district for an area in eastern Scranton and western Jackson townships, a little east of the Scranton community, south of the Union Pacific rail line. The area is presently served by private tile lines and is not in a drainage district.
The current tile lines are sometimes inadequate to handle drainage flow, and overloads occur at those times. A request from at least one landowner in the region initiated the board’s response.
The board also may discuss whether to revisit its decision to deny a permit for a beer stand on the Monday during RAGBRAI week on Highway 25 about six miles south of Scranton.
RAGBRAI will be staying overnight in Jefferson that evening, coming from the west.
The board earlier had voted to deny the requested permit from Back Pocket Brewing.
Steve Linn, of the Iowa Craft Beer Tent, headquartered in Johnston, spoke to the board representing Back Pocket Brewing. He said that the proposed location is flat, with fewer than 1,000 vehicles per day on average on that stretch of highway.
Linn said his organization has held beer stands along RAGBRAI routes for the past six years and has had no problems working with county sheriffs. Bikers are asked to park their bikes in the ditch at a stand rather than along the shoulder.
Linn remarked that outdoor beer sales are greatest when the temperature is between 75 and 80 degrees. When the thermometer reaches above 90, beer sales fall off, he said. Most cyclists at roadside beer stand stops have one beer and then continue their ride right away, he added.
Board chairman John Muir explained to Linn that the board’s primary concern about the proposed beer stand on Highway 25 is law enforcement. Muir said that the board will have to have a lot of discussion on the matter before the possibility of taking another vote.
Muir said that Jasper County had requested some private enforcement personnel to be provided by Iowa Craft Beer Tent for any rural beer stands in that county, in order to monitor customer identification and sobriety.
In addition, since Supervisor Rudolph, who lives in Scranton, was absent, Muir wanted to make sure she was present for any discussion and/or re-vote.
Back Pocket Brewing plans another craft beer stand on the RAGBRAI route that day near Coon Rapids.
Discussion of the Highway 25 beer stand proposal may be placed on the board’s agenda for this coming Monday, but that decision had not yet been made as of the Herald’s press deadline.
The board canvassed the Greene County ballots from the June 5 primary election. There were no changes from the unofficial results released earlier.
County Sanitarian Chuck Wenthold updated the supervisors on the progress of the next phase of wind turbine construction in the northeast part of the county.
Depending on the weather, Mortenson Construction, acting on behalf of Mid-American Energy, was to complete the first few of the 85 new turbines this week, Wenthold said. The first batch is located on the west side of Highway 144 between Dana and Paton.
Completion of all 85 turbines will probably be done by August, Wenthold said, barring inclement weather.
Jefferson City Administrator Mike Palmer briefed the supervisors on activities of the Jefferson city council. He said the city hopes to have wayfinding signage up before the RAGBRAI overnight stop here.
Palmer reported on downtown building improvements, and said that the city had applied for a $25,000 grant from the Union Pacific Railroad to help with improvements along the east entrance to the city, including a walkway along Old Highway 30 to the Jefferson Cemetery.
Palmer agreed to a request from Muir for the city of Jefferson to participate in discussions with the county and Greene County Medical Center on the future of ambulance service in Greene County. Muir said he would like to have all three entities “on the same page” on the subject, including how to finance it.
The board’s next meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the boardroom on the second floor of the courthouse.