By PETER HUSSMANN
Newton Mayor Chaz Allen will soon relinquish the reins of city government after 10 years in office but on Monday he was able to scratch one item off his bucket list of things to get accomplished - improvements to the Maytag Bowl.
The Newton City Council on Monday agreed to put out for bids an estimated $200,000 in repair work on the iconic Newton structure.
"I'm very glad it's moving forward," the mayor said. "It's off my bucket list."
The project, which has a scheduled completion date of May 23, 2012, includes a wide array of work, including:
- improving drainage on the flat portions of the roof by placing rigid insualtion and a new membrane on the roof, as well as new gutters and downspouts;
- removing the concrete masonry units that were used to fill in the basement door on the southeast side of the bowl and installing a metal door with the existing basement door on th north side filled in with concrete masonry that will allow fill dirt and gravel to be placed along the north exterior wall to enable drainage away from the Bowl;
- ventilating the basement by installing exhaust fans controlled by temperature and humidity sensors and programmable thermostats. The concrete masonry units that were used to fill in the doors at the bottom of the stairs on each side of the stage will be replaced with metal doors and louvers. The restroom doors at the rear of the bowl will be filled in with concrete masonry and louvers;
- installing a temporary grate over the steps at the back of the stage to prevent a performer from falling down the stairs and to keep vandals from damaging the doors at the bottom of the steps;
- providing electrical upgrades with the existing electrical panel at the bottom of the north stage stairs being moved inside the basement room and new electric outlets installed around the stage and in the basement;
- installing new white stage lights, floodlights and wall pack lights on the back side of the Bowl for security, as well as new basement lights;
- repairing deteriorated concrete surfaces with mortar and/or sealant and installing slip resistant surfacing on the stage and steps, as well as the use of anti-graffiti treatments.
After the work is completed, city crews will construct a new concrete sidewalk along the southeast side of the Bowl and at the base of the north stage steps. Crews will also tie downspouts to existing drain tile.
Council member Dennis Julius said that he was "glad we're making headway," but said he thought some discussion on the installation of motion detectors to help decrease instances of vandalism had been talked about during discussions on the repairs.
The plans being put out for bid have been approved the State Historical Preservation Office as required by the $25,000 Historical Resource Development Program grant the city received to help cover costs.
In addition, the city council on Monday approved the establishment of the City of Newton Historical Building Preservation Society, a non-profit corporation that will act as the pass-through agency for the purposes of receiving state tax credits for Bowl repair work, as well as other past and future repair work at Maytag Park.
The seven-member commission, modeled after a similar organization Jasper County established to receive tax credits for its work at the Jasper County Courthouse, will be comprised of two members from the parks/public works/community development department, one from the council/mayor, one park commissioner and one historic preservation commisssioner and two community representatives. MariJo Nisken and Maxine Udelhoven were appointed.
Tax credits of up to 25 percent of the cost of the repairs ($43,750) can be received which would bring the city's cost for the project, including the $25,000 grant, to approximately $131,000. City officials said they have applied for a $10,000 grant from the Jasper Community Foundation. In addition, the council has considered using Whirlpool funds for the Bowl project.
The public hearing to award the bid is set for the Sept. 4 council meeting.