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Council overrules H/M recommendation for trails plan

July 3, 2018

Grant of $18,500 added to list of funding approved

by BILL SHEA – Daily Freeman-Journal

Several planned outdoor and recreation projects, including a proposed Hamilton County trails plan, will receive money from the Webster City hotel/motel tax.

In a rare move, the City Council on Monday overruled the recommendation of the Hotel/Motel Tax Board to add the $18,500 for the trails plan to the roughly $54,000 worth of grants to be awarded.

The board did not include the trails money in its proposed list of grants. In fact, the board did not invite any city officials connected with the trails plan to make a presentation before it during its meeting last month.

The board’s chairman, Andy Sowle, told the council Monday that the panel would encourage local officials to apply again in six months.

Sowle said the trail plan is a countywide initiative, but the board members are concerned about an apparent lack of financial support from the Hamilton County government.

”Us funding it all would be a bad thing,” he said.

He added that board members are also concerned about the possibility that little to no trail work will be done outside of Webster City.

Councilman Brian Miller asked Sowle if allowing someone to make a presentation to the board about the trails plan would have answered some of those questions and concerns.

”Possibly,” Sowle replied.

Mayor John Hawkins said discussions about a trails plan have occurred on and off for 15 years, and nothing has been done.

”Unless someone gets up and takes the lead on this thing, it’s never going to get past where it’s been for the last 15 years,” he said.

Councilman Logan Welch proposed adding $18,500 for the trails plan to the list of grant awards. The proposal was approved unanimously.

The other grant awards spurred little discussion.

The biggest award of $27,246.38 will be used by the city government to improve boat access to the Boone River. City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez said the boat ramp at Nokomis Park will be paved with concrete and two new ramps will be added elsewhwere. He said the construction will be done late this summer or early in the fall after the river’s water level goes down.

Legacy Learning of the Boone River Valley will receive a $13,528 grant for marketing.

The Webster City Community Theatre will receive a $7,500 grant for a hearing assist system.

The Webster City Pickleball Group will receive a $3,465 grant to conduct a pickleball clinic.

The Doodle Bug Club of America will receive a $2,550 grant for its annual renunion of people who own the motorized scooters that were once made in Webster City.

The money for the grants comes from the hotel/motel tax, which is a 7 percent levy added to lodging bills in the city.


Click to view this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal.

Last modified: July 3, 2018

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