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Fort Madison Façade Improvements

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Local contractors will handle a majority of the upcoming improvements to downtown Fort Madison.

The city secured a $500,000 state grant to improve the facades of 13 buildings.  The property owners will contribute another $170,000 to the project.

The city chose to seek bids per category of work as opposed to going project by project so one contractor would handle all windows and doors while another would do the masonry, for example.

City Manager Byron Smith says the low bids totaled about $509,000, which is just over the budgeted amount of $500,000.  He believes there can be enough changes to make up that amount. 

The rest of the money has been used for engineering and design work.

The city council has accepted Fort Madison-based Schickendanz Construction’s bids for general contracting ($148,000), windows, doors, glazing and finish carpentry ($128,000), & painting ($72,000).

Sherwood Signs and Awnings in Burlington will handle signs and awnings ($24,600) while Evans Mason Contractors out of Springfield, Illinois is in charge of masonry services ($136,822).

The façade improvements in downtown Fort Madison could get underway next month.


Fort Madison is starting to cross some items off of its latest “To-Do” list.

A series of meetings was held, last January and February, to develop some goals for the city over the next two years.  The result was 18 goals in three priority areas: top strategic, organizational effectiveness and on-going strategic.

Smith says the initial accomplishments include the consolidation of several departments into a public works office, the upcoming hiring of a public works director, the discussion about allowing the mayor to vote on city council issues, and the setting of a date for board/commission training.

He says a few more goals will be addressed during upcoming city council meetings, including the possibility of holding paperless meetings, updates to tax exemptions for improvements and an annexation proposal for land near the Highway 61 Bypass.


Fort Madison will look into the possibility of extending sewer services on the city’s northeast side.

Smith says there are about 50 homes in that area that do not have sewer service, despite being within city limits.

The city council will have Muscatine-based Stanley Consultants conduct a study to see how much it would cost to extend the sewer system.

Smith says any extension of the sewer system into that direction would require financial contributions from the property owners.

The city will use money from the sewer fund to pay for the $30,000 study.

Fort Madison is already moving ahead with plans to extend a sewer line along Highway 61 on the city’s west side.


Fort Madison is increasing the penalties on people who do not remove their boats from the marina parking lot in a timely manner.

Smith says the lot is available for winter storage, but when boats and trailers are not removed in the spring, it’s more difficult to navigate the parking lot to get a boat in the water.

The increased penalties must still be approved two more times by the Fort Madison City Council.


The future home of a multi-sport complex in western Fort Madison has been rezoned.

The city council has finalized a proposal to shift the usage from residential to commercial.

The change was necessary if organizers wanted to eventually serve alcohol at the complex, though Smith says the city and the state would have to grant liquor permits before that could happen.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.