DEWITT— The DeWitt TEC Center Makerspace received another boost with formal approval of a memorandum of understanding at the DeWitt Council meeting on Monday.

The MOU makes the makerspace a part of the city’s economic development program and sets some general operations expectations. A makerspace provides opportunities to create and develop “new and interesting ideas and products," according to the agreement and promotes “entrepreneurship, small-scale manufacturing and overall economic activity.”

Under the MOU the city will provide space in the Thiel building at 911 Fifth Ave. from 12 to 36 months as a pilot program, provide utilities at no cost, form an advisory committee, and designate Julian Stahl and Harrison Stahl as co-directors.

The council also approved a lease agreement with the TEC Center. The zero dollar lease spells out the building’s use and the responsibilities of both parties. With the city paying electric, gas and water utilities, the TEC Center pays for Internet usage.

Mayor Don Thiltgen said the Stahls are working diligently over there. As directors, the Stahls have committed computers, a robotic arm, a 3-D printer, and other items as well as their time.

Street closures for fall activities were approved. The second annual Pumpkin Fest in downtown DeWitt is Oct. 16. The Marketers of DeWitt put on the festival which will include street vendors and games from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. MOD will also decorate the downtown.

The Central DeWitt High School Homecoming parade route was granted street closures. The parade, which begins at the high school, is Sept. 29 between 6 and 7 p.m.

A request from the Clinton County Fair Board received consideration. The board is constructing a 21,000 square-foot swine building at the fairgrounds to accommodate an increase in swine exhibits and youth exhibitors. Donations from businesses and individuals, as well as a Clinton County Development Association grant of $250,000, have been received for the projected $550,000 cost.

The board requested the city waive the estimated $2,000 building permit fee. Precedent shows the city partially waiving permit fees but not the entire cost. City Administrator Steve Lindner said there is work involved by the city building inspector which creates costs for the city. The council voted to waive 50 percent of the true cost of the permit fee.

A request from the Americinn Hotel & Suites for wayfinding signs on 11th Street at its expense was tabled. While Lindner said there was no problem with the signs directing traffic to the new hotel on DeWitt’s northwest side, if there was an increase in similar businesses, he wondered if signs should be used for all entities. Council members noted qualms about placing the signs.

Councilman Kurt Ketelsen, while acknowledging frustration when entrances to a business cannot be found, said the building could be seen from the road. Councilman Garey Chrones said it was necessary to go up a street and turn, and Councilman Steve Hasenmiller said he hated to set a precedent for future businesses.

At the suggestion of Thiltgen to wait until the business was open to see if there is a problem and then reconsider, the council agreed to wait six to eight months to decide the issue.

The council approved the Iowa Department of Transportation 2016 street finance report, a mortgage release for 225 Ninth Ave. as part of the city’s home rehabilitation program, and the third and final reading of an amendment to the city’s zoning code changing 2.12 acres of Shindel property northwest of Springbrook Country Club from A-1 agricultural holding district to R-2 moderate density zoning district.

A problem with drainage at Fourth Street and 13th Avenue was discussed. Legal sump pump drainage has caused water to sit in neighbors’ yards. While the city cannot enforce any ordinance, it will discuss the problem with the neighbor involved, Lindner said. Also with an attempt to alleviate the situation, the public works department will cut the curb to let the water drain or cut holes in the curb for drainage.

Thiltgen proclaimed October Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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