Council OKs agreements with Amtrak on changes

MT. PLEASANT — The Mt. Pleasant City Council approved two resolutions for contact agreements with railroad service Amtrak.

City building and zoning administrator Jack Swarm explained the city has been working with Amtrak since January on improvement plans to the station in Mt. Pleasant.

Swarm said the railroad service is completing its passenger platform to make it handicap accessible.

“When they were presenting their plans to us, we pushed them a little bit to improve the pedestrian crossings across North Main Street, North Adams and North Lincoln Street,” Swarm said.

“They were kind enough to work that into their plans. They didn’t have to so we’re going to wind up with three really nice crossings,” the building and zoning administrator added.

Swarm said the first of the two resolutions authorizes the city to sign an agreement with the company, which says the city “won’t mess with the improvements” Amtrak makes in the city right of way.

“It’s an odd ball thing. We’ve never had anybody ask us this … but since they’re being so kind to the city, we’re humoring them here and signing this agreement,” Swarm said.

The administrator added city lawyers have reviewed the contract and determined the city is not “unfairly obligated” to anything.

The second resolution approves a contract between the city and Amtrak for the railroad service to build a sidewalk for $12,800. The sidewalk would run from the Lincoln Street right of way on the southside of the railroad tracks to the edge of the Burlington Northern Railroad right of way.

Swarm said the sidewalk was not in Amtrak’s original scope of work, but the city approached the company about compensating the company for completing the project.

“The main reason is, is because it is extremely difficult to get permission from Burlington Northern to work inside that right of way. So while [Amtrak] has permission, we just thought it would be good if we could have them do that instead of us trying to obtain our own permissions and that sort of thing,” Swarm said.

The council approved both resolutions.

Other business

• The city accepted a $5,250 bid from Big Creek Construction for a demolition contract which will remove a city-owned structure at 1300 W. Courtland St. The company has until Nov. 30 to complete the project.

• The council approved a resolution for a renewal of an agreement with the Southeast Iowa Ridge Blaster Snowmobile Club which will allow the group to use the city right of way on Iris St., Mapleleaf Drive and North Grand Avenue. This is the third year this agreement has been in effect.

• The council approved a motion for the mayor to sign an Enhance Henry County Foundation application for funds to build a dog park at East Lake Park. Parks and recreation director Gary Grunow said the department recently received a donation from a local resident as seed money to apply for grants.