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Archive for July 20th, 2009|Daily archive page

City focuses anew on New Bohemia brownfields; contaminated soil at former Iowa Steel and Iowa Iron Works sites to be removed to ready for redevelopment

In New Bohemia on July 20, 2009 at 1:12 pm

City Hall is taking a fresh step in its decade-long plan to clean up nearly 50 acres of old industrial sites a few blocks from the edge of downtown.

By early August, a contractor will begin excavating “contaminated soil” at the sites of the former Iowa Steel plant and the former Iowa Iron Works plant, which straddle the 400 block of 12th Avenue SE. These sites are just up the street from a Third Street SE commercial strip now considered the heart of the New Bohemia arts and entertainment district.

The city’s work order calls for the first six feet of ground at the former Iowa Steel site at 415 12th Ave. SE to be removed and hauled to the local landfill and for the first three feet of ground at the former Iowa Iron Works site at 400 12th Ave. SE, likewise, to be removed and hauled to the local landfill.

At that point, tests will be conducted to make sure no additional contaminants remain in the soil. Further excavation will take place if there are additional contaminants.

Richard Luther, the city’s development manager, reported on Monday that Rathje Construction Co., Marion, submitted the apparent low bid for the project of about $42,000, nearly $30,000 below the engineer’s estimate for the work, he said.

The city’s bid documents call for the work to be completed by Sept. 30. Once completed, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will issue a letter stating that no further action is necessary.

Luther said the two brownfield industrial sites can be redeveloped for commercial, office or residential use.

City documents note that the city is basing the scope of the excavations on an October 2005 report prepared by engineering firm Howard R. Green Co. of Cedar Rapids.

Of the two former metal plants, the Iowa Iron Works plant was demolished most recently, in the summer of 2001.

The city owns two other former industrial sites nearby, the empty former Quality Chef Co. building on Third Street SE and the empty former Sinclair meatpacking site at the end of Third Street SE.

Last week, council member Brian Fagan asked for updates on those two properties, both of which took on flood water in 2008. Fagan wondered when they might be demolished.

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City announces fifth annual bow hunt of deer

In City Hall on July 20, 2009 at 11:22 am

The city will permit a fifth consecutive bow hunt of deer this fall and early winter.

The bow hunt season inside the city limits will run from Sept. 12 through Jan. 31.

To participate, hunters must complete an annual proficiency test and attend a class on the hunt’s rules and regulations. Hunters also must receive permission from private property owners to hunt of their property.

Proponents of the Cedar Rapids bow hunt – several Iowa cities including Coralville and Marion permit bow hunting of deer inside the city limits — say the hunt has reduced deer-vehicle crashes inside the city since its inception four years ago. That’s not to say vocal opponents of the hunt aren’t still out there.

At the conclusion of each of the previous four bow hunts, Fire Chief Steve Havlik, who oversees the bow hunt in Cedar Rapids, has reported that complaints about the hunt have been few and that there have been no injuries to people related to the shooting of arrows.

Bow hunters have killed 298, 333, 349 and, most recently, 314 deer in the four previous annual hunts.

In 2004, figures compiled by the city, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Department of Transportation put the number of deer-vehicle collisions inside Cedar Rapids at 453. In 2008, the number was 250, the DNR reported.

For information on this year’s hunt, go to http://www.cedar-rapids.org/fire/urbandeerhunt.asp