Metro briefs

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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Supervisors OK jail upgrade

It’s official: The Johnson County Jail will get electronic upgrades.

The county Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to approve the plans and specifications for electronic systems upgrades to the jail.

The bids have a deadline of Oct. 28, and construction is scheduled to start Jan. 2.

The cost of the upgrades is estimated to be $1.2 million; they would upgrade the jail’s old system, which has not been altered since it was installed in 1981.

County Facilities Manager Eldon Slaughter said some of the systems were very difficult to repair, as the replacement parts were no longer manufactured.

While the upgrades are underway, parts of the jail will be unusable. While the supervisors would prefer a slow phase in, with the rest of the jail still operable, it is still uncertain if that will be possible.

“We are requesting that this be a phased in project, but we don’t know the answer to that until the bids come back,” Supervisor Janelle Rettig said. “So we will be relocating inmates during this, but we are unclear at this point whether it’s all of them or some of them.”

However Rettig said this is not the only upgrade the aging jail needs to have, and plans for a new roof and generator will be reviewed in the coming years.

“We’re trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” Slaughter said.

— by Ben Marks

Council to vote on Moss Ridge project

The Iowa City City Council will vote on the approval of the Moss Ridge Road project at its meeting on Oct. 7.

The approval needs to come from Iowa City Mayor Matt Hayek as well as City Clerk Marian Karr, which would attest to an agreement between the city of Iowa City and Shive-Hattery Inc. — the company providing engineering consulting for the project.

The approval would authorize Shive-Hattery to provide engineering construction services.

The negotiated contract amount is not to exceed $84,500.

Council to consider Riverfront Crossings rezoning

The City Council will give a second consideration to the rezoning of 25.8 acres in the Riverfront Crossings District on Oct. 7.

At its Aug. 21 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-0 to recommend approval for the rezoning.

If approval is granted, the property can be redeveloped for a variety of uses.

Council mulls Benton/Dubuque rezoning

The Council will give a second consideration to the rezoning of approximately half an acre of Riverfront Crossings property at the intersection of Benton and Dubuque Streets.

At its Aug. 21 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the rezoning.

With approval, the property can be redeveloped for mixed uses.

Council to move on Camp Cardinal rezoning

The Iowa City City Council will discuss rezoning approximately 33 acres of property east of Camp Cardinal Road at their Oct. 7 meeting.

The property would be rezoned to low-density single-family residential.

At the Planning and Zoning Commission’s Aug. 7 meeting, it voted unanimously to recommend approval for the rezoning.

Approval would allow the property owner, St. Andrew Church, to proceed with a special exception application for religious institution use as well as a subdivision that may include residential development.

— by Megan Sanchez

Council eyes appeal of preservation decision

The City Council will discuss the appeal of historic preservation decision.

The council will decide the appeal presented to it to deny a certificate of appropriateness to replace the windows at 220 E. Jefferson St.

The location is home to St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, an Iowa City historical landmark.

— by Lily Abromeit

Council to discuss land agreement

The City Council will discuss a resolution approving a purchase agreement between the city and a trust for 5.02 acres of vacant land.

The land comes from the will of Frieda A. Chadek at the intersection of Friendship Street and Fifth Avenue and would cost $280,000.

The council will also discuss a resolution to use the land for a park.

The proposed name of the park is Chadek Green Park, which would include a community garden.

— by Lily Abromeit

Officials mull St. Patrick plan

Iowa City officials have narrowed down the proposals submitted for the development of the old St. Patrick’s Church Hall to three finalists.

The top three proposals are from CA Ventures, HUB at Iowa City, and Sherman Associates of Minneapolis.

Jeff Davidson, the city director of economic development, said each proposal will create tower-style residence spaces with potential for office space and even a hotel.

“We want to make it a hip, cool, high density,” Davidson said.

The area Davidson describes is defined as the Riverfront Crossings District, the subject of the city’s Riverfront Crossings Master Plan.

According to the plan, the district is roughly bordered by Riverside Drive to the west, Gilbert Street to the east, Burlington Street to the north and Highway 6 to the south.

The plan is derived from public input given at meetings, workshops interviews and focus groups, and it aims to preserve and build on the strengths that Downtown Iowa City offers while creating urban neighborhoods in proximity to the Downtown District.

The proposed designs range from six to 13 stories, and the tentative prices vary from $67 million $88 million.

Davidson said these costs are not yet concrete, as negotiation of the proposals remains to be seen.

“The costs will cover acquisition of the site and construction and development,” Davidson said.

He said depending on the outcome of negotiations between the city and the finalists, there could be a request for tax increment financing.

— by Mitch McAndrew

Man charged with robbery

Authorities have accused a Springfield, Illinois, man with threatening a man’s life.

Samuel Odele, 23, was charged with first-degree robbery on July 21.

According to online court documents, Odele completed a job for the man, and the man paid him for the work. Odele then demanded more money, which the man refused to give.

The man’s refusal caused Odele to allegedly punch and kick the victim numerous times in the head, which caused bruises and swelling.

Odele also grabbed a large kitchen knife and threatened to stab the man if he did not give Odele more money. The victim gave Odele $5, and Odele left.

First-degree robbery is a Class-B felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

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