WATERLOO — A consultant will study how a property that is for sale might be used by Waterloo’s fire and police departments.
Sturtz Public Management Group of Churubusco will look into the potential for a house and land directly north of the Waterloo fire station. Last month, Fire Chief Kirby Hobbs asked the Waterloo Town Council to consider purchasing the site.
Tuesday night, the council hired Kristi Sturtz, president of the consulting group, to investigate the potential for the property. The study will cost no more than $10,000.
Sturtz previously has obtained grants for the fire department, and might be able to do so again, said Town Manager Tena Woenker.
Sturtz’s study will “get us to where we can apply for those grants and ascertain what everybody needs,” Woenker said.
“We’ve looked at that property several times, but we’ve never been able to afford it,” Woenker added Wednesday.
Hobbs said last month that the fire department needs more space for its building and parking. At the same meeting, the council heard about the problems of the town’s police station.
The police department needs a garage for its vehicles and a better-insulated building, Woenker said.
“What if we bought that house and added on to make room for all of the things that everybody wants?” Woenker asked about the property that is for sale.
“It would be a public safety facility” to house both departments, Councilman Jess Jessup said.
During the discussion, Councilman Nathan Diehl said he believes a new fire truck is a higher priority for the fire department than an expanded building .
The council also passed a resolution giving the Waterloo Redevelopment Commission authority to purchase property of more than $25,000 in value.
The commission currently owns the former Hart’s grocery store, a vacant building downtown. Woenker said Wednesday that its purchase price in 2017 was $21,000. State law requires the commission to have approval from the council to spend more than $25,000 on property.
“We’re trying to buy the other two buildings on the block … so the Redevelopment Commission can deal with the whole blighted block,” Woenker told the council.
The neighboring two buildings, to the north of the former grocery store, are the Warm-A-Heart soup kitchen and the Ketch-Kan tavern.
The council signed an agreement for Waterloo to join with DeKalb County and other cities and towns in sharing geographic information systems (GIS) data. Waterloo’s share of the cost will be $3,185 per year, which Woenker said is less than the town was paying its previous GIS provider.
Maple Street near Waterloo Elementary School will be closed for about a month, starting June 24, Woenker said.
Original plans to repave the street have changed, with the discovery that a complete rebuild is necessary in the block between Washington Street and the school, Woenker said. The town aims to reopen the street before school resumes.
Council members discussed reports that Shady Acres, a mobile home park on the town’s northeast side, is being sold.
“We are concerned that our mobile home ordinance is out of date and doesn’t give us enough authority … to keep them from bringing in very old trailers,” said Pam Howard, deputy town manager. The town’s ordinance is 20 years old, she said.
“We’re going to have to do some investigation on legalities,” Jessup said.
The council also heard a complaint about a large number of stray cats on West Maple Street. A resident said the cats are destroying her backyard by digging. She said some of her neighbors are feeding the wild cats.
“It’s a community issue. We’re going to have to look at this as a community problem,” Jessup said about the cats.