A look ahead to the new year

Supervisors discuss top projects for 2019

Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Bailey outlined a few of the projects facing Hamilton County in 2019, including a large bridge project and the new mental health services building.

Bailey spoke at the end of the board’s reorganization meeting Wednesday morning and outlined the timetable for the projects.

“The Boone River Bridge project south of Webster City will be the most expensive, tallest and longest bridge ever built in Hamilton County,” he said. “It’s underway under the watchful eye of Nicole Stinn and her staff.”

Crews plan to pour concrete through the winter months for the bridge project, which is scheduled for completion in August.

The former Webster City Medical Clinic became the property of Van Diest Medical Center when the hospital clinic merged with private health clinic. Last summer the building at 1610 Collins St. was gifted to Hamilton County with the stipulation that it be used for mental health and health care services.

“That project is moving forward. The first two occupants, Hamilton County Public Health and HeadStart, were announced last week. The other occupants will be revealed in the next couple of months,” he said.

“That’s a project we started last year and we look forward to seeing that finished in the late summer or fall,” Bailey said.

The chairman also talked about the ongoing interoperability radio project. The project which involves switching public safety radios from analog to digital and connecting public safety, first responders and others across the state.

“We’re deep into this project, but we have many miles to go on that yet,” according to Bailey.

He also outlined two project he would like to see developed in Hamilton County.

Bailey said he would like to see the creation of a comprehensive emergency plan for county government. He pointed to the disaster that struck Marshalltown with the tornado and more recently with the secondary roads maintenance shed fire.

“We’re extremely lucky that the state maintenance shed south of Webster City was purchased several years ago by the county,” he said. “So we had a fallback position for secondary roads. Without that, I’m not sure what we would have done.”

Secondary roads equipment that was not destroyed in the fire was moved to the former state maintenance shed.

He stressed that emergency planning is an important piece for the county.

“We need to take a look at that with input from all of the departments,” he said.

Updating the current emergency management plan for the rest of the county would then be the next step, according to Bailey.

The chairman also suggested that the county look at the possibility of a county-wide economic development plan that integrates all the communities in the county and builds upon existing community development groups, committees and initiatives, such as Hamilton Hometowns and Hamilton County, Iowa Welcome Home marketing project.

“Let’s integrate all of the components into one initiative,” he said.

Bailey said he would also like to see the continuation of work on housing.

“The county-wide housing initiative that Dan (Campidilli) was so key in, building on that study and moving it forward. We now have the Webster and Hamilton County Heart of Iowa trust. We have some key tools in place that can affect housing not just in Webster City, but throughout the county.

Bailey said he looked forward to working with his fellow supervisors in the coming year.

“We run as Republicans or Democrats, but once we get here, it’s all about serving the common good,” he said. “So here we go.”