Prairie City Councilwoman Christy Lindsay had a simple request at the December council meeting. She wanted to hear from the organizations, boards and committees who receive funding from the city on what they have been up to and their future plans. Lindsay’s request was granted at a special Feb. 5 board meeting.
Representatives from the fire department, emergency medical services, park board, hometown pride, planning and zoning committee, board of adjustments, library, celebration committee, economic development committee and police department spoke about their activities and answered any council member’s questions.
Prairie City Fire
For the upcoming year, the fire department plans to continue purchasing new radios to continue upgrading the equipment to the standards used by the county. It also is working to get a new fire truck.
“We’ve paid for that entire fire truck from funds from the fire association,” fire chief Ryan Van Der Kamp said. “It is in a very preliminary stage right now.”
Currently the department has 16 volunteers but Van Der Kamp said he would like to see that number at 25. Day shifts for the department can be thin with many of the volunteers working outside of Prairie City.
On average, the PCFD goes on 20 calls per year. Last year, the volume of calls was down, Van Der Kamp said, but the department continues to assist neighbors in Monroe, Colfax and Runnells.
Emergency Medical Services
Director Cody Wenthe also said calls for the department were down last year, at less than 120 when EMS typically averages 140 per year. The staff currently sits at 22 with closer to 16 to 17 that are active members.
He is happy with the number of daytime volunteers available, currently four, the most the department has had “in a long time.”
EMS is also working to upgrade its radios and look to purchase new tires for the ambulance, a new office computer and possibly a new tablet for the ambulance.
There are several big projects on the horizon for the park board, laid out by member Tom Schendel. From continuing improvements at the recreation complex and pond to addressing the floor in the community building, the board is excited to continue improvements in the community.
“Last year we got the rec complex field conversion completed from a grass field,” Schendel said. “We’ll look to do continued improvements out there with a goal of hosting a few softball or baseball tournaments this year. Whether we have local teams playing or not, there is a need around the Des Moines metro area all the way to Pella.”
The board is also figure out the future for the tennis courts on the east side of town. Whether to repair, replace, move or modify the courts is being discussed.
Councilwoman Diane Taylor spoke on behind of the Hometown Price Committee, highlighting the groups biggest effort of bike trail between Prairie City and Monroe. She said the bid letting process to pave the trail is set to take place this summer and work completed on the trail this year.
In association with the trail, the group had an idea to develop a logo along with Monroe to recognize the new recreation feature. Also along the trail in town, the group is looking to replace the mural on the Co-op building.
Planning and Zoning
Working on codes and ordinances has been the main order of business for the planning and zoning committee Steve Williams said. Another project currently underway is a future land use study being completed in partnership with MSA.
Board of Adjustments
A group that doesn’t meet very often, the board of adjustments mainly get together on an as needed basis to addresses a particular request by a citizen or business. Representative Paul Ponder said they mostly address issues of new structures being close to lot lines and similar situations.
Prairie City Public Library
For the past several months, the library has been preparing to possibly move to a new location in downtown Prairie City. The library is waiting for the building at 100 S. Marshall St. to be gutted, director Sue Ponder said, so its architects can get specific plans and fundraising can begin to fund the estimated cost.
The library has been busy with programs for all ages including reading with dogs Marco Polo and Olivia and the Books and Brews book club.
“We have two library book clubs, one at the library and one that meets between Whiskey Barrel and Wilkies,” Ponder said. “That one averages 10 to 17 people and about 12 to 13 come in the afternoon to the library.”
Big city events are the main focus for the celebration commission as laid out by member Stephanie Clark. From WinterFest which again partnered with the Winter Market to the Memorial Day service, spring carnival and preparing for Prairie Days, the commission stays busy planning fun-filled times for the community.
Economic Development Committee
Members in attendance admitted the committee has struggled to meet in the past year. They did provide a list of ideas and projects they are focusing on including housing development, recruiting, marketing, demolition grant, facade grant and building a fund for future projects.
Prairie City Police Department
The police department is also looking to upgrade some equipment with new computers approved for purchase and equipment for the vehicles. Sargent Mike German reported Sunday is typically the busiest day for the PD throughout the entire year. He has also been seeing an up-tick in domestic issues he credited, in part, to the time of year.
“Cabin fever, people are done being around each other,” German said. “We typically get into that this time of year.”
The council plans to continue the presentations throughout the year to stay up to date on the work being done by the groups.
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org