We’ve experienced a busy spring and felt the time was right to provide a brief update to the community on some of our current and upcoming projects. As always, thank you to The News for being willing to provide space for us to update the public.

Kalona Days: The Kalona Chamber of Commerce and the Kalona Days Committee has done a nice job of putting together a wonderful day of activities. I’d encourage you to mark your calendar for June 15 to spend some time downtown.

This year the city and Chamber have partnered to help expand Kalona Days and provide some of the activities previously held during our Kalona celebration. 

One popular event was the Community Awards presentations. This year we will be hosting the awards on the main stage at the KCTC lot at 2:30 p.m. If you have someone you would like to nominate for a Community Award, go to CityOfKalona.org and download the form and submit it to City Hall prior to June 7. For a schedule of events, go to KalonaChamber.com.

The C Avenue Project: Weather has not been conducive to a consistent work schedule on the C Avenue project, but contractors are getting things lined up and the street was poured late last week. 

This project is designed to update the water and storm sewer infrastructure as well as improve the sidewalks and main library entrance. We are anticipating a completion of the project in mid-June.

Pickle Ball: Thanks to Andrea Duwa and the YMCA for helping spearhead increasing recreational opportunities within Kalona we now have pickle ball courts at the city park. On the west side of the tennis court facility we had four pickle ball courts painted and there are portable nets available for the public.

As the weather cooperates, we will be installing a station that will have paddles and balls for public use. Should you have any questions, contact the YMCA at 319-656-2400, and they can assist you in learning the game. 

Shiloh: To date we have had three public meetings and an open house to view the facilities and property. As always, the meetings are open to the public, and I’d encourage residents and non-residents to participate in exploring this unique opportunity. 

So what’s the next step? In early June we will be hosting another public committee meeting to review preliminary property layouts based on committee break-out sessions. This would include recreation, public use and housing areas.

Has anything been decided on the Shiloh property? At this point there is no agreement in place. Council has directed staff to continue the public dialog to determine what uses the facility would have for both Kalona and Washington County as well as the short and long-term impact to Kalona. 

Is the city buying Shiloh? I’ve answered this question numerous times and feel it’s worth including in this article. The city is not purchasing any property or buildings from Shiloh. Our discussions to this point with the Shiloh directors have been that any property or structures would be deeded over to the city at no cost. 

What is the fiscal impact? We are in the early stages of coming up with the fiscal study. This would include utility cost, maintenance, water and sewer maintenance. 

  How are the discussions going with potential project partners? Our discussions with other public entities have gone extremely well. We are continuing to meet and assess the structures to allow for those groups to come up with a plan that might be beneficial to their entity.

This public collaboration will be crucial in ensuring the financial sustainability of a project of this size and scope.

Is there a project timeline? Currently our goal is to continue the discussions and take the appropriate time needed to ensure that the public and council has as much information they need to fully understand the positives, negatives and impact of this proposed project.

Is the city doing a facility assessment? Yes, we are working with local and other building professionals to give us an unbiased assessment of the structures. As well we are working with our city engineer to review and assess the physical water and sewer plants.

I have questions but don’t want to attend a meeting, what should I do? Contact me at City Hall 319-656-2310 or via email at rschlabaugh@CityOfKalona.org. I’d be glad to listen to your comments, ideas as well as answer any questions that you may have.

Kalona Bakery: On Monday, May 6, the Kalona City Council voted to partner with Communications Network to acquire the Kalona Bakery building. The goal of the property acquisition is simply to spur positive economic growth in our downtown business district. 

Both the city and Communications Network have grant opportunities that can help facilitate emergency mitigation efforts that would make the building more desirable to contractors, developers and ultimately a new downtown business. Upon closing we will be working on securing grant funding to help with abatement and clean up.

Washington County Riverboat Foundation: Earlier this month, the city of Kalona was awarded $138,000 in municipal funds for six projects. This year’s projects include batting cage improvements, concessions stand improvements, community center debt payment, community center message board, Kalona Historical Society promotion and advertising, updating downtown banners with new quilt block logos and new pool furniture. 

Since 2006, the WCRF has invested over $1.8 million in the city of Kalona through quarterly municipal payments. These funds have been key in allowing us to keep pace with a growing community and the public’s desire for more community and recreational opportunities. 

As always if you have questions, comments or concerns,  feel free to reach out at 319-656-2310 or RSchlabaugh@CityOfKalona.org. 

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