Kalona City Council looks ahead to new projects


A new outdoor recreation area, the sale of the student-built home, upcoming sidewalk projects, and construction at Mid-Prairie Middle and East Elementary Schools were all topics of discussion at the Kalona City Council’s work session on July 26.

Southtown recreational plan

City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh presented a preliminary recreational plan for Southtown, an area currently in development south of the English River.  The City intends to submit a fall grant application to the Washington County Riverboat Foundation to help fund the Southtown North Ridge Trail.

The plan includes a trailhead and four segments of paved trails.  At the trailhead, restrooms, an open-air picnic shelter, a playground, a naturescape, and a dog park would be built.  A ten-foot-wide concrete multi-use path would wind through wooded and wetland areas.  The trail would be accessible and constructed to ADA standards.

The estimated project cost is about $2 million.  The City will prepare the grant application and bring it up for resolution at their August 15 meeting.

Student-built home sale

The student-built home at 721 6th Street is nearing completion and the City is looking ahead to putting it on the market.  The students’ and staff’s last day of work is August 15, and it is expected that 95% of the work will be finished by that date.  Carpet and flooring, painting, landscaping, gutters, a few last cabinets, and a final cleaning will be handled by the The Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association.

The City’s hope was to break even on the property; however, the brand-new kitchen and two bathrooms will result in a greater than anticipated market value.  Still, when the price is set on August 15, it should be affordable for eligible buyers who earn up to 80% of the median family income. 

Kalona Realty, Inc, has expressed interest in becoming the realtor of record for the property.  The City hopes to turn the property over to the realtor in early September, with the goal of having an offer for public hearing in September or early October. 

Phase II sidewalks

The council discussed Phase II sidewalk recommendations.  Four project options were presented: connecting H Avenue to Kalona City Park, which would include a crossing of Highway 22; connecting J Avenue to 5th Street; providing sidewalk to the neighborhood north of J Avenue; and connecting the Harvest Hill subdivision to Pleasantview Home.

Mid-Prairie school construction

In the spring of 2023, construction will start on additions to Mid-Prairie Middle and East Elementary schools.  For about 16 months, traffic flow will be disrupted by trucks coming and going from a large, fenced off staging area between the schools.  Schlabaugh suggested, and the council agreed, that the best route for the trucks would be to use 14th Street and H Avenue, and to avoid use of 6th Street. 

The council will consider exploring a partnership with the school to create a permanent secondary lane, which would be used as a parking lane when picking up students, at a future time when deemed appropriate. 




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