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  • Tue May 22 2007
  • Posted May 22, 2007
By Danica Baker Herald Staff Writer CAMANCHE — Upon their return from a trip to Washington D.C., Camanche city officials say they’re optimistic that legislators listened to their concerns and will provide federal funding for several city projects. “I think it went well. Senators Harkin and Grassley and Congressman Braley were attentive to and realized our problems down here,” Camanche Mayor Jim Robertson said. “They’re familiar with our town and our problems. They were very gracious and attentive.” Robertson, City Engineer Dan Solchenberger and Councilman Trevor Willis made the trip to Washington, D.C., last week to meet with state and national legislators. The three city officials left Sunday, participated in meetings from Monday through Wednesday, and returned to Camanche on Wednesday night. The purpose of the trip was to explain the major projects facing the city and lobby for federal funding to aid in the completion of the projects including the rehabilitation of Washington Boulevard, the construction of the Mississippi River Trail and the regionalization of the Camanche and Clinton wastewater treatment facilities. The Washington Boulevard project will reconstruct the street from a two-lane rural section roadway with no sidewalks to a three-lane urban section roadway with a sidewalk on one side of the road and the Mississippi River Trail on the other. The work is needed because of drainage issues and cracking pavement. The last repairs to the 2.5 mile-long street were done 25 years ago and there has been little or no maintenance work since then. The cost of the project is estimated at $5.8 million, with the city contributing approximately $1.16 million. Robertson said that the reconstruction of the street is essential, not only for growth within the city but as a safety issue. “Our kids don’t have any place to walk down Washington Boulevard, which is our main artery through town,” said Robertson. Officials explained to legislators that the project is critical to the city, because three other city projects rely on the enhancement plan. One of those projects is the Mississippi River Trail, a joint recreational trail that will run parallel to Washington Boulevard and links the cities of Camanche and Clinton with county recreational trails. Plans include eventually linking the city to nationwide recreational trails planned along the Mississippi River. The project is projected to cost $900,000, of which the city is providing $200,000 in local funding and the city has secured $700,000. Another key project contingent on the Washington Boulevard plan is the reorganization of the Camanche and Clinton wastewater treatment facilities. The work is needed because Camanche’s treatment plant has not been renovated in the last 17 years and is desperately in need of upgrades to be compliant with new national pollution discharge elimination system standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Last year, city officials held special meetings seeking public comment from citizens in an effort to determine whether the city should repair the existing facility or work with the city of Clinton on a new regional facility. Following those discussions, city leaders voted to join with Clinton. The project is estimated to cost the city of Camanche approximately $1.2 million to demolish the current plant and connect pipelines parallel to Washington Boulevard that will pump sewage to the facility. The city has received an Iowa Department of Economic Development grant in the amount of $550,000 to offset some of the total project cost. Solchenberger said he is hopeful legislators will help fund the plans because it involves two cities working together. “They were happy to see that we are all cooperating in the creation of a regional system,” he said. Finally, a watermain project that will cross Washington Boulevard is being planned by the city. Officials are working with the national manufacturing company ACC/GCC to provide city water to some rural areas in and around the company’s facility. The project is estimated to cost more than $5.6 million and is being funded by ACC/GCC. All said, Robertson said the trip was very worthwhile and he felt welcomed by legislators. “We had some good conversations with them,” Robertson said. “I think our representatives are happy to receive their constituents and hear their concerns.” Solchenberger said he is optimistic about the potential of being awarded federal funding. “But, they cautioned us that money is tight,” said Solchenberger. Robertson said he hopes the legislators will see the value of the projects and realize that federal funding will contribute to millions of dollars in community enhancements. “We explained to them that unless we get some help that we couldn’t do it, because we just can’t afford to do it,” Robertson said. “I hope they find our projects have merit. We want to grow and move forward and be progressive in our community. In order for it to happen, we need federal assistance.” Camanche city officials requested a total of $600,000 in federal funding for fiscal year 2008.

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