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Your new parklet will be here, a place to gather and visit with friends

The meeting began with the usual formalities of approving the agenda for the meeting as well as-as well as approval of the minutes from the previous meeting.

There was a discussion about the Young Eagles Program at the airport offered on June 8th from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

There was a discussion about a gentleman on Scenic Drive who would like to add a garage to his property but can't because of regulations. The suggestion was made for him to visit with the city Administrator to discuss possible ways to meet the requirements. The is not a city council issue but a Board of Adjustments issue.

Committee Reports:

Lookalike Guns

The police department would like the council to adopt a policy making it illegal to carry a look-alike gun which gives the impression that it's a concealed weapon. There have been several incidents according to Councilman Stark that the police have had to deal with. Teenagers have begun carrying these and in one case using it to make an officer think it was a real gun pointed at an officer. Fortunately, the police have not accidentally drawn their guns in response, but to protect the public from being hurt in a potential incident, the police department need some help in this area. The police chief and Dickenson have had discussions about how they are not talking about cracking down on kids playing army in their yards but the teenagers that are carrying the guns to give the impression that they are armed. When this happens officers have to treat this as a real threat to them and to the public until they can verify that the weapon is not an actual gun but a BB Gun or a Pellet gun. There have been stops made because of these potential threats to find out that it was not an actual firearm.

Healthy Hometown Initiative

Also present were Melissa Smith and Matt Boggess as representatives of Virginia Gay Hospital and Vinton Parks and Recreation. The two are working with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield to start a Healthy Hometown initiative in an effort to make Iowa the healthiest state. The program includes impacting the community to create a "blue zone". Based on studies and the correlation about the area they live in and how it affects their health because of housing, access to health care, jobs. They've used evidence-based tactics making the healthiest choices the easiest choices.

If Vinton is chosen after applying, we'd receive a $5,000 award to put toward this effort. Through the program, they have three avenues eat better, move more, feel better categories. Projects encouraged through these initiatives they encourage bike trails, community gardens, healthier vending choices in schools and businesses. The committee is looking to create a "parklet" a place for people to gather and linger together to socialize in the alley next to The Palace.

(These or some ideas that were shown to the council of how the area could look.)

There is data a show that these sort of gathering places to socialize are beneficial to the community. The plan is to try to create a space west of the Palace in the alleyway. They are thinking of some seating, flowers, art, light and other ideas that might make the space more welcoming.

The parklet would be in operation from Memorial Day to Labor Day and the project received the approval of the city council.

Repair of Clingman/Fischer Property

Discuss was held about filling the area left following the downtown fire to make the area safe. The empty lots are now part of a state grant program to assist businesses to rebuild. The city moved to go ahead with filling in the ground because of the safety hazard. Pickering Backhoe Service will perform the work and is estimated to have the job done quickly.

Party in the Park

Matt Boggess of the Vinton Parks and Recreation submitted a request for the Party in the Park Activities which will be held June 20-22.

Library Funds

The City approved a transfer of funds to the Library for operation costs.

Middle Cedar Watershed Management Authority Update

The environmental review has been taking place and the city has received two positive comments concerning the project, which Chris Ward, City Administrator said is rare to receive. The project has begun to move forward and there are plans to begin work this summer.

Nuisance Abatements

Seed House building: the owner of the building talked to the city council about the repairs to the building as well as moving the cars that they are restoring. The intention of the historical restoration project is to keep the outside of the building looking as original as possible. A discussion followed about possible projects that could happen inside the building. There was a discussion about making the building look good before the Sesquicentennial celebration. The council gave him 30 days to get the front outside cleaned up.

City Health Insurance

The city would like to keep the health insurance program locally if they can, so they will be looking at local insurance providers to provide Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance for next year.

Airport Economic Impact

The airport is "The front door of Vinton" according to Leon Welchel, Chair of the Airport Commission who shared the positive impact that the airport brings to the Vinton area. He explained that there is a lot of traffic to the airport because of the low cost of fuel and the appearance of the airport that lures pilots to Vinton. The airport brings traffic here which in return brings customers to the town for lunch or overnight stays. Leon explained that the airport is why he moved here. "I'm an airplane nut, my wife says there's a bit of idiocy in that, but I don't admit it" he said of himself. He explained that he came here back in the '70's when the airport had 2 buildings and no one there. "Since then the airport has added 5 hangers, bigger ramp space, another runway, a jet fuel facility and the thing has grown, while the city of Vinton has not grown in population."

He went on to explain that the agricultural need for the airport has helped the Vinton area. He explained that numerous businesses including the Noe's fly from the airport and some as far away as Mississippi and Illinois. The planes can burn as much as 45 gallons of fuel an hour to treat fields in the area. Of course, when these businesses fly in to work in the area, they use Vinton as a place to stay, shop and eat.

He went on to explain that the benefit of the airport can't be seen on a ledger sheet but is felt in the community.

After a few more comments, the meeting was adjourned to go into closed session.

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