Waterloo beautifies; boosts power

The Waterloo City Council made measures to improve the community in multiple ways Monday night. 

In addition to finalizing efforts to demolish the condemned former mobile home park on West Mill Street, the council approved a boost to the city’s power plant and paved the way for a second K-9 unit to join the Waterloo Police Department.

Aldermen approved a settlement agreement and mutual release of all claims relating to a Monroe County court case between the City of Waterloo and West Mill Properties involving the vacant Greenbrier Trailer Court at 500-506 West Mill Street, which included seven aging mobile homes, a 2,500 square foot cinder block building and 280 square foot office building.

As part of this settlement, the city will pay former property owner Robert A. Marshall a sum of $13,527.62 to retire outstanding debt, and the land will become property of the city.

“After we retire the mortgage, the land will be conveyed back to the city and the deed is ready. We’re just waiting for the approval tonight and the settlement to be paid,” city attorney Natalie Steppig explained just prior to the council vote. “So by the end of the week, this will be back in the city’s name.”

Following a months-long process last year, the city condemned all buildings associated with the mobile home park after it was abandoned by West Mill Properties.

The property owner stopped paying its monthly water bill to the city early in 2023, after which unsuccessful attempts were made by the city to collect payment. All residents of Greenbrier Trailer Court were relocated prior to the city revoking all of the occupancy permits. 

In September, aldermen approved a resolution authorizing the law firm of St. Clair, Gilbreth & Steppig to file suit for the condemned trailer court. West Mill Properties had not responded to legal papers filed in the matter and failed to appear in court on the case, resulting in a judgement in favor of the city. 

Then on Dec. 20, an attorney for West Mill Properties filed a motion to vacate the default judgement, delaying the matter. 

Prior to the Dec. 20 filing in the court case, the city council had approved Abate-Pro for asbestos removal at the site and SOIL Excavation & Hauling for demolition of all structures.

With the settlement approved Monday night, the property should fall under ownership of the city within about a week, and then the demolition can finally begin. After these buildings are cleared away, the land will be seeded and strawed.

“Then it will actually belong to the city, which we really didn’t intend that to begin with, but it worked out very well,” Waterloo Mayor Stan Darter said. 

Also on Monday, the council approved an agreement with BHMG Engineers in the amount of $598,700 for engineering and design services in regard to a combustion turbine project at the city’s power plant. 

Waterloo Director of Public Works Tim Birk said this would be the third such turbine at the power plant. BHMG Engineering previously worked with the city on its other two such turbines.

This new turbine, which could be operational by mid-to-late 2025, would be a dual-fueled Taurus 70 combustion package with a 13.2 kV generator, including liquid fuel storage and natural gas connections. 

In other action taken Monday, aldermen gave the OK to purchase a 2023 Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicle in the amount of $41,790 from Morrow Brothers Ford and outfitting equipment from DataTronics in the amount of $15,718.20 for a new WPD K-9 unit vehicle. 

Waterloo Police Chief Dane Luke said his department is hoping to add another K-9 unit to the department in the coming months.  This would be in addition to the existing WPD K-9 unit that consists of officer Steve Moravec and his German shepherd partner Tobi.

In related news, longtime WPD member Trin Daws was sworn in Monday night as the new deputy chief of police. 

Lastly, the council approved Waterloo Beautification Grant applications for a future Dieterich Bank location at 101 N. Main Street, a new awning project at Family Kitchen (106 Plaza Drive), and renovations to Innovations Early Childhood Daycare (221 Bradford Lane).

The next regular meeting of the Waterloo City Council will be held 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at City Hall. 

Pictured, from left, Waterloo City Clerk Mechelle Childers administers the oath of office to new Waterloo Deputy Chief of Police Trin Daws on Monday night. 
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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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