Spirit Lake City Council Approves Santa Village; Approves Betterment Grant Application & Approves Assessment Schedule
Wed 11-9-2016 
(Spirit Lake)-- The Spirit Lake city council Tuesday paved the way for a special holiday event being planned for the city's downtown area. The council voted unanimously to approve an event permit for Santa's Village on Hill Avenue. City Administrator-Attorney Greg Owens told the council the event is being planned for December 10th...
"Allure and Company is wanting to sponsor an event downtown. Having heard that a bunch of downtown businesses got together and had a meeting with Allure and the chamber a couple of weeks ago. On December 12th they're going to just have some downtown open houses, there will be some vendors, I don't know exactly who yet, downtown. It sounds like a lot of the downtown merchants are going to be participating. This permit is being taken out by the chamber. They'll kind of be the overseer of the vendors so the vendors don't have to come in to get separate $100 permits."
In other business, the council approved a Downtown Design Betterment Grant Application for the former railroad depot, or the Dickinson County Historical Museum at 1708 Keokuk Avenue. The city's code administrator, Clyde Ihrke, says a committee recommended approval even though one of the materials being planned for the project doesn't meet city specifications...
"They were asking for cedar lap siding. They reviewed that. It's one that in the architectural standards isn't permitted. But we looked at it, we looked at the museum building that they're going to do, the actual old depot, a 134-year-old building, and it's actually an exhibit. It's not a used building, it's just for an exhibit. They want to try to preserve it back to the way it was, which the incentive program is designed to do, preserve it back to the way it was, so the Review Committee decided to be in favor of issuing the grant for that.
Ihrke says the grant will help pay for the improvements to the south and east sides of the structure.
The council also adopted a final assessment schedule for 1405 Gary Avenue. The city recently tore down a house at that address that was badly damaged in a fire. The city took the action citing safety concerns, after previous efforts to try to get the owner to get it done failed. City Administrator-Attorney Greg Owens told the council the assessment process allows the city to seek payment from the current owner of the property to reimburse the city for cleaning up the property...
"If the taxes don't get paid, it will get sold at a tax sale and we'll proceed from there. If they DO get paid, then we'll get our money in installments and we're allowed to charge up to 9% interest, so I put in the maximum we're allowed to charge by law at this time."
The Spirit Lake city council also last (Tues.) evening approved the city's annual urban renewal report, which now goes to the state.