Mayor Adam Schweers
Mayor Adam Schweers
April 3, 2014

Editor's Note: The following is the complete text of the speech Mayor Adam Schweers delivered to preview upcoming council meetings. Schweers made the remarks at the end of the Monday, March 24, council session.

Tonight I would like to make a few comments on projects in the community in order to provide some education and a little bit more of an introduction to topics as they come up in the next two months. Often, I hear folks say they were unaware the council was going to be addressing that issue so soon or "whatever happened to the discussion on that project" - despite our best efforts through TV, the website, the newspaper and radio.

Looking ahead to April and May we will be talking more about the ongoing Highway 30/Grant Road project, the Carroll Public Library, train horn noise, Merchants Park and our street maintenance building.

To provide a bit of a recap on Highway 30/Grant Road, a Hazard Elimination Safety Concept was prepared in 2000 recommending some short- and long-term improvements including turning lanes. That's 14 years ago. Things of course continued to change in Carroll and the opportunity of Casey's building a new location and the city being able to purchase their old property for control of the corner presented itself. The purchase was made in October 2011.

The project has anticipated funding in the capital improvement plan for 2014-2018. A (TEAP) or Traffic Engineering Assistance Program study was received in May 2013. At this time, agreements have been received for review from the Iowa DOT for Traffic Safety Improvement Funds and Snyder and Associates Inc. for design. The council will review and approve agreements and do a confirmation of project direction at our next meeting April 14

The Carroll Public Library expansion was first identified in a city space-needs study completed by DMG-Maximus in January 2001 for approximately $50,000 for all city-owned facilities.

After that, Kennedy Library Consultants were engaged for $2,500 to complete a Statement of Need for a New or Expanded/Renovated Public Library Building in June 2003.

In the more recent history, George Lawson was hired to complete a space needs and building program assessment for approximately $16,500. And finally, the most recent services were from Himmel & Wilson for $25,000. So in total the city has spent $44,000 (w/o the Maximus city wide study) spanning over 13 years.

Many things have developed over this period of time, including the hiring of an energetic education-based librarian in Kelly Fischbach and a greater number of offerings. Those offerings include greater children's programming, author signings, book clubs, memorabilia presentations, historical/genealogy presentation, technology expansion and classes for seniors offering a wide range of topics. The library studies have brought ideas on how to accommodate all our needs with a large collection of materials as well as recent suggestions on scaling back that content.

We have explored coupling urban renewal with an expansion plan, received information about adding on and have even received the suggestion of relocating in the Depot Business Center, which I believe is a very worthwhile idea to pursue in the interest of parking, visibility, flexibility of our changing needs and as a complement to our central business district.

The city council has made the Carroll Public Library our priority the last four years, and with the Himmel & Wilson study in hand, I believe we are poised to start moving forward.

Personally, I have spent considerable time listening to concerned citizens, library trustee members, foundation members, former mayor/council people and city staff. I believe I have a lot to bring to the conversation, and as one of the youngest elected officials with two boys under 10 years old, I have a vested interest in our future. I'm connected to technology and people every day. I see that technology while changing how we learn and interact will certainly not change our need to collaborate or lessen society's need to spend time talking and learning from each other.

I'm inspired by my older clients that continue to want to learn. The public library is the best and most appropriate place to host this education, not a side room of a rec center or the basement of a church. There are innovators in children and adults emerging from makerspaces and partnerships with schools that have gone to 1-on-1 initiatives that the public library will certainly add value to.

While Carroll enjoys a low unemployment rate, I can assure you that there are folks utilizing the Internet to complete online job applications and doing research for resumes at the library each day. The library is an economic-development engine that showcases our community's emphasis on education and lifelong learning just as much as our parks and athletic fields and golf courses showcase our kids' fantastic athletic abilities.

Very limited resources have been committed to culture in Carroll, but yet we have one of the premier orchetras quartets in western Iowa, several private artists, published authors and accomplished theater people living among us. The library should be a place to showcase, appreciate and applaud those talents. I publicly support a new library facility and I intend for the council to review and approve agreements and do a confirmation of project direction at our next meeting April 14.

Train horn noise mitigation was introduced with an in-house review in 2006. The council made it one of its priorities in the Capital Improvement Program for 2014-2018 after discussion in the 2013 planning session. The Quiet Zone Study being conducted by Bolton & Menk Inc. was initiated October 2013. The study preparation is in progress, and fund expenditures began in December 2013.

Bolton & Menk is currently preparing the study, and meetings will be set up with Union Pacific Railroad representatives to review all information and any alternatives. The council will review and approve agreements and do a confirmation of project direction at our meeting on April 28.

Merchants Park was first introduced to the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Board at their meeting on Aug. 9, 2011. The conditional study was final Feb. 5, 2013, with Shive-Hattery. The study cost was $20,000, and most of the funds have been expended.

The project became a priority in the 2014-15 budget. $400,000 is in the upcoming budget. Merchants Park has been a big part of Carroll's history, and our athletics complex area incorporating Merchants Park, the Rec Center, football stadium, baseball stadium, softball stadium, men's slow-pitch fields, Carroll Family Aquatic Center and Des Moines Area Community College is one of our premier draws to the community outside of regional trade.

A proposal from Shive-Hattery will be brought before the city council May 12 to begin plans and specifications.

The street maintenance facility was also identified in a city space-needs study completed by DMG-Maximus in January 2001. The study included the library as I mentioned above, fire station, police station, streets department, recreation services, parks, library, golf course and cemetery. It became a priority in the 2014-2018 capital improvement plan with a consultant selection for preliminary initiated in 2013.

The consultant selection or study/design is in progress with no funds having been expended yet. Funds were expended in 2009 for property purchase and demolition in preparation for this project. A consultant should be selected, and further discussion is anticipated at our May 27 city council meeting.

I will be working with staff and the media in the upcoming weeks to make sure information is provided. I intend to work with our Young Professionals on another Beers and Ballots event soon, and will be looking to schedule some spring mayor coffees in the next few months.

My hope is the public and the council members always feel they have the information they need to be supportive of Carroll's continuous improvement, and I am also here welcoming your ideas and your concerns. Thank you.