Councilmember Ron Creagan and his counterparts are hoping the third time will be the charm with the sidewalk trees that form a perimeter around the Centerville square.
During Monday's discussion on the proposed removal of the trees and search for alternatives to replace them, Creagan remarked that this will be the third team he's been part of an effort in regard to the trees in question.
"I've been through this thing twice now," Creagan said. "So if we're going to this thing a third time, I hope it's the last time for me. But, there's a lot of controversy over it. I walked around the other day and looked at those trees and I understand. Some of those trees are OK, but some of them aren't."
The current trees came about as part of an effort by the city in 1999 during a streetscape project. Among the guidance was the planting of skyline/imperial Honey Locust trees.
Those trees were planted, replacing Bradford Pear Trees, in 2000 and city administrator Jason Fraser said they've grown beyond what they were supposed to. Now, he said, they're causing infrastructural issues with the sidewalk and streets on the square. There's even reports of tree roots growing into building foundations.
The trees, Fraser said, have exceeded beyond expectations in their growth in both height and diameter.
Fraser also stressed the importance that the city implement maintenance funding and guidelines with whatever trees or feature the city ends up selecting.
There were no public comments during the meeting, but the council discussed the issue for roughly eight minutes. Out of that discussion, the council approved Fraser to move ahead with consulting with an arborist.
Fraser has reported they've had communications with the Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Centerville and business owners on the square.
In other action:
— The council approved the third and final reading of the ordinance that will ban parking along Highway 5/South 18th beginning on Jan. 1, 2020. The ordinance is in anticipation of the Iowa Department of Transportation's plans to convert the roadway into a three-lane configuration as part of a curb-to-curb repaving project.
— It was discussed that Midwest Medical Transport Company, which handles 911 ambulance calls for Appanoose County currently, has declined the previous subsidy offer and expects additional funding. Though, no action was taken as a new request was not yet complete.
— Funding via tourism dollars was approved for the Historic Preservation Group to make improvements on the insulation and heating of the CB&Q Depot station on South 18th Street was approved.
— The council also approved a host of ordinances relating to the Goldview wastewater substation improvement project, including naming a contractor. The council approved the lowest bid of $259,912 by C.L. Carroll Co., Inc. of Des Moines. There were two other bids for the project: Joiner Construction of Plano at $293,950 and Keokuk Contracting, Inc. of Keokuk at $460,201.
Kyle Ocker can be reached at email@example.com or by calling the newsroom at 641-856-6336. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.