Special meeting time planned for Oskaloosa City Hall discussion

by Dennis Sharkey

The Oskaloosa City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday, June 16) about the polarizing subject of City Hall.

The council met for 30 minutes in closed session at the last meeting to discuss real estate issues.

Since the council turned over in May, much of the discussion has centered around the old Harvey’s Hardware store that was purchased by the city in 2009 with the hopes of renovating the building into a new City Hall and police station.

But some, such as councilman John Norman, have questioned the decision to renovate the building. Norman has been outspoken against using the building for City Hall and would like to explore other options.

Those in favor of renovations argue that money has already been spent on plans and drawings for the building.

Councilman Mike Paavola said he was surprised at some of the comments he received from residents about the Harvey’s Hardware building. He said many residents said they want City Hall there.

“I was kind of surprised because I thought I was going to hear 100 percent opposite of that,” Paavola said.

City Superintendent Bill Heard said he also heard from residents that want City Hall at that location.

• The city square is being repainted for parking and some space will be lost to conform to state regulations.

Some spaces will be lost because of distance requirements. State regulations require certain distances from corners, cross walks, intersections and fire stations. Law enforcement officers cannot enforce traffic laws if the parking stalls are not properly painted.

City Superintendent Bill Heard estimated that 15-20 parking spots could be lost on the square.

• Councilman Allen Wise said at the last meeting that he did not vote in favor of changing city engineers and that he abstained. An abstention results in an affirmative vote. He said he did not have enough information to vote either way.

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