With confirmation of a $750,000 grant from the Black Hawk County Gaming Commission to support La Porte City’s Main Street reconstruction project, City Council members will soon begin to make decisions on many of the amenities that will determine the new “look” of downtown La Porte City.

One such option to consider is the design of the bump-outs that will be located at the downtown Main Street intersections. Bump-outs are designed primarily for safety reasons, as the expanded, rounded corners help regulate traffic and shorten the length of crosswalks to increase pedestrian safety. In La Porte City, the bump-outs will also help increase driver visibility as it relates to the angled parking on Main Street, particularly for vehicles turning from side streets onto Main Street.

Bump-outs can also improve the visual appeal of downtown, as the additional space allows for the inclusion of seating and decorative items, such as plants, to accompany street lighting. In the coming weeks, the City Council of La Porte City will begin making decisions about the project’s overall design so that the process of taking bids can begin later this year.

Next year’s construction season promises to be a busy one in La Porte City, as the list of things to do includes the complete reconstruction of Main Street, the completion of Wolf Creek Park and a paved trail connecting the downtown district to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, as well as the establishment of eight new lots in the Sweet’s Second Addition. On top of that, Black Hawk County Conservation anticipates replacing the Cedar Valley Nature Trail bridge just north of La Porte City that has been closed since September 2015. The new bridge would restore continuity of the trail that runs from Cedar Falls to Ely.

At last week’s regularly scheduled meeting, the City Council took action on proposed improvements at Wolf Creek Park, approving a contract for design work that is estimated to cost $35,000. The design work will pave the way for the permits needed to construct the park’s restrooms, recreational trail and gravel parking lot.

In other business, the Council adopted the first reading of an ordinance that will increase the charges for commercial garbage and recycling containers by approximately 15%. The move dates back to 2015 when the City began contracting with Black Hawk Waste Disposal. Previously, La Porte City was one of just a few communities in the area that operated their own sanitation department, using employees of the City to manage the collection of garbage and recycling. While the switch to privatizing sanitation services resulted in a cost savings for the City’s residential accounts, the rates for commercial accounts was significantly higher. Rather than hit the local businesses with an immediate and massive rate increase, the City Council chose to implement a series of moderate rate increases. The second of three required readings will take place at the Council’s September 23 meeting.

The 200 block of Main Street will be closed on Friday, October 4 from noon until 1 AM following the Council’s approval of a request made by Nick Mullnix and Leah Harp to hold their wedding reception and street dance at that location.

The Council also adopted Resolution 19-62. The resolution sets the rental fee for the community center at $75 for weekend and holiday rentals and $35.00 for weeknight rentals. Rental fee for the City park shelter will be $50.00 per day. The new rates will go into effect for all new reservations scheduled after September 30, 2019.