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Mayor’s December Newsletter


Dear Citizens of Belle Plaine:

Before I get very far into this newsletter let me simply say:


Or if you prefer:   HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

As I have told people for years I hope they truly remember

the reason for the season.


All that being said from an economic stand point I hope that you buy some of your Christmas gifts at our local merchants’ venues.  Remember they are the ones who sponsor our little league programs, our July 4th celebration, & many other local events……..We sure don’t see the big box stores coming out sponsoring too many events in the small towns. 

Please support the merchants who support our community!


I also would like to give a big shout out of “THANK YOU” to Russ Spading & his staff for fixing five Christmas decorations that had some major damage from last year’s holiday season. Without his generous effort we would have had a few street lights that would not have had decorations on them.


Also another huge “THANK YOU” to Fire Chief Spading & the volunteer firemen plus all the other volunteers who gave of their time & effort to get the decorations put up on a cold Sunday morning!  Also thank you to all the BPCDC volunteers who help make our efforts so successful such as Trunk or Treat & the Downtown Start of Our Christmas season.



Okay let’s get to some city government events:

THE HANSON BUILDING:  I will try to give you the whole story as I know it concerning the building located at 807 12th street, commonly referred to as the Hanson Building by the city.  The story of this building spans at least three city councils, two Mayors, & two city administrators.  For all those city officials it has been one giant headache to say the least.


As the story was told to me this property was dumped on the city without their knowledge and it happened sometime after the paper work had been filed for the Main Street project — thus it was not included in the project.  Since that point in time the city definitely took a wait & see attitude until the back wall collapsed.  It was decided at that time we needed to get it fixed (restored) or tore down.  The original engineer’s report estimated that it would cost around $167,000 to put the building in a mothball state.  The state bidding process was required and when the bids came in, or should I say the bid came in, because there was only one legal bid, it was for $240,000.  Yes, costly but we were informally advised that tearing the structure down would cost  almost as much  because of all the support material that would have to be put on the neighboring buildings.  I think one thing that everyone has to understand is that most of the buildings on Main Street are interconnected and support each other so to tear one down; you then have to deal with the other buildings next to it.  So re-construction began and then came the dreaded change orders.  The first one was not too bad: it dropped about $40,000 out of the project and replaced it with around $50,000 worth of changes, for a net increase of $10,000.   Okay I can live with that.  But when change order #2 came for $33,000 because the engineer failed to include any restoration of the front wall of the building in the initial report. Although the council successfully lowered this change order to $30,000 to say the council was unhappy with the second change order would be a gross understatement. 


Yes the council approved the change order on a 3-2 vote but only because there was already $100,000 invested into the project, no one had any idea what a tear down would now cost (but it would not be as simple as tearing out the front wall) and no one knew what the legalities of breaking the original contract would lead to.  One has to believe there will be some type of cost to breaking the contract.  Also a tear down would automatically cost us the $60,000 Main Street Iowa grant that will be coming to this project.


Is this what the council wanted or expected to happen to this project?  That in a simple answer is NO and if they saw this coming would they have taken a different course of action back in the spring.  I can’t answer for the council but I could only imagine they would have sought a different method to deal with this building. So for all the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” line of thinking, based on the information the council had at the time of bids, based on what state law allows them to do or not to do when taking bids for projects, and based on the interconnection between buildings on Main Street, this council responded in the most knowledgeable way they could respond.  If they could have had a crystal ball that would have told them the problems & the actual cost they would face,   I am confident we would have seen a completely different response to the problem with this building.  If you have questions you can always call me (444-2200) or e-mail me at


Another item of note; the city is busy working on the sewer plant project which is being ordered by the DNR.  We would not be pursuing this project if it wasn’t mandated by the state.  Stay tuned in the future as we schedule at least one if not two community meetings to explain the project, why we have to do the project, what it will cost, & how we plan to pay for it.


Just a couple of quick reminders:  a. when the city declares a snow emergency – all cars must be removed from the streets until the emergency is over. (Snow Emergencies are usually 48 hours in length) b.   All residents are required to remove snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of the snow event.  C.  We encourage all residents with a fire hydrant on their property to remove all snow from the hydrant for fire safety in their neighborhood.

 D. It is time to renew pet licenses (details next month).



CROSS COUNTY:  1ST TEAM ALL-SICL:  Braden Parr (Soph.) & 2nd TEAM:  Joe Eichhorn (Fresh)


FOOTBALL: 1st TEAM ALL DISTRICT – Vance Bohlen (Sr.), Trey Squires (Sr.), Jordan Reineke (Soph.), Zac Slaymaker (Jr.), & Joe Schwen (Soph.).  2nd TEAM- Jacob Ehlen (Jr.), Trey Alcott (Jr.), & Josh Long (Sr.). 

H.M. – Justin Jacobi (Sr.) & Matt Breja (Jr.).


VOLLEYBALL:  1st TEAM – Marisa Pope (Sr.), 2nd TEAM- Savanah Meeks (Jr.) &

 H.M. – Morgan Straight (Jr.) & Carley Stewart (Sr.)


Must have been a successful fall season with this number of district & conference awards.  Plus the future looks good!


As always “Go Plainsmen”. Remember it is up to all of us to make

Belle Plaine the best hometown in Iowa!


Mayor Dave Fish – December 2014

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