FROM THE DESK OF THE MAYOR
Dear Citizens of Belle Plaine:
Gee, it is October already, so that means we have officially ended summer and are headed into fall. The positive side of fall usually means great weather and beautiful colors. (Start of football season) So while it is still good weather, I hope you take the chance to enjoy the season because right behind it will be the winter with all of its difficulties. Continue to think positive and enjoy the great fall weather of the mid-west.
On another positive note, we will be doing several ribbon cuttings for the new businesses starting to open in Belle Plaine. I believe we had like eight new businesses opening and in a small-town market that is unheard of. I guess that means we are doing some things right. Between the efforts of the Belle Plaine Community Development Corporation, the Benton Development Group, and the Belle Plaine City administration, they seem to be making things happen. I don’t know what your favorite one will be, but the chatter I keep hearing is about when does the Mexican restaurant open. Not sure, but keep watching the development on the corner of 11th Street & 7th Avenue. (The old Blue & Gold corner.)
On another positive note, a really unique & exciting business that will open on Friday, October 1st, from 7 to 11 pm is the Deranged Haunted attraction on 8th street at the site of the old sale barn. If those types of adventures attract your idea of entertainment, then be sure to check it out and then check out a couple of the others in Benton county. Never the less we have some very positive business news going on in Belle Plaine.
Let’s talk water. Believe me when I say no one is thrilled about running well six as a part of our water delivery system. The positive side of this issue is we have a well six to rely on during a drought. We were hoping to have shut well six off by this time, but due to some complications on Well #2, we had to shut it down for some repairs, so Well 6 is still on. Hopefully, we will shut it down in the next couple of weeks.
People ask why we don’t drill a new well so let me review that process which has gone on forever. About five years ago, we applied with the Department of Agriculture for rural cities grant to drill a new well. We were turned down but told if we completed a water study, there was an excellent chance we would get a grant. Governments just don’t hire who they want for significant projects, so we put an RFP together to get engineering firms to bid on the project. Veenstra & Kimm got the project, and eventually, after two years, they just finished. Now the council will have to study it, and it does say we need to drill at least one new well and gives suggested places. Still not as easy as it sounds. Soon we will be back to the grant writing drawing board because the estimated $250,000 price tag for one well is something we need assistance on. Eventually, we will get to the process of writing an RFP for a well drilling project and award a contract. We are hoping that in a year to a year and a half, we will have a new well in place, and hopefully, that will be a significant aid during drought-like conditions. In the future, we will explore what it would cost to put some kind of filtering system on Well 6, so we could seriously lower its mineral content. No idea what that will cost, but we hope to solve some of that in the future.
Those who have suggested rural water forget we brought rural water into the council about eight years ago. It would (at that time) cost three million dollars just to get it to the city limits. The water mains would not change it would still be our system, and we would have to pay for every gallon of water that went thru the rural company’s meter. Thus, activities like filling the swimming pool would cost, putting out fires both real & practice would cost and we would have to pay for every gallon of water lost in water main breaks. The council at that time did not see that as economically feasible for the city. The current council seems to have the same feelings.
I know asking for patience is tough, but we will have to deal with the water we have until we get all our regular wells up and running. I have the same problems with water spotting etc. that all of us do. My advice is to have your water softeners turned up, and if you have to, put in a whole house filter. Praying for rain will also help.
But asking for massive snow this winter will not help.
On another not-so-fun note the DOT has been anything but helpful in solving the school crossing issue on 7th Avenue. I will have greater details for the public in the future but it might require the public to lobby the DOT, our state senator, & state representative to get the action we feel is logical, especially as Highway 30 becomes four lane all the way across Benton County.
In this day and age, it is better to be safe than sorry! If you notice something in your neighborhood or anywhere else in town that does not look right, please call it in. (319-444-2323) (Obvious emergency 911) As a community, we have decided to have full-time police protection, so do not be afraid to use it. Our officers are on duty to protect and serve the citizens of Belle Plaine. Do not hesitate to call them into action if you see something that should have the police involved. There have been a few strange incidents in town the last couple of months that we were pleased to have the citizens call in to the police.
Time is running out for various fall sports. They will be starting the playoffs in October. So, if you have not seen XC, volleyball, or football, or the marching band, you better check the schedule to see when their next event is happening.
As always, “Go Plainsmen.”
Remember, it is up to all of us to make Belle Plaine, the best hometown in Iowa!
October- 2021- Mayor Dave Fish