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Possible New Use for Former FM Library

Cattermole Library - 500.jpg

A vacant library in downtown Fort Madison could soon have new life.

  A development firm out of Cedar Rapids is seeking state money to renovate several buildings for residential or commercial use.

Fort Madison City Manager Byron Smith says Frantz-Hobart’s application was to include the former Metropolitan Hotel, which was destroyed by a fire late last year.

He says it will be replaced by the former Cattermole Library, which has not been used for years.

The city council has agreed to sell it to Frantz-Hobart for about $200,000. 

That breaks down to a $50,000 payment and about $150,000 to cover the city’s matches for two grants being used to renovate the former library.

Smith says the firm will take control of the building once the work is completed.

Budget Update

Fort Madison’s proposed budget for next year is now up for public review.

The city council has adopted the preliminary version of the spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2013.

Smith says the budget is balanced and meets city needs.

He says past cuts by the city council reduced the need to make difficult decisions this time around.

Smith says the city is adding one position: school resource officer.  The cost will be split between the city and the Fort Madison School District.

Service levels will remain the same and the property tax rate will decrease by about one penny.

A public hearing on Fort Madison’s upcoming budget is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5.

Bond Issue

One item that is not in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year is Fort Madison’s proposed $6-million bond issue.

The city council is expected to vote on the plan in the next few weeks as soon as the list of potential projects is finalized.

The city held three meetings, late last year, to gather public input on the potential street and parks projects.

Smith says a top priority is 16th Street from Avenue B to Avenue H.  He says it will also serve as a pilot project for a partnership between the city and potential contractors to try to save money.

Other potential projects include rebuilding 24th Street from Avenue A to Avenue H and building a showerhouse/bathroom at Rodeo Park.

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