WAVERLY, Iowa --- A proposal for a band shell in Kohlmann Park stalled this week when the City Council decided against vacating part of a street.
Advocates who want to build the structure on the park's north end want the southern half of Fourth Avenue Northwest east of First Street vacated. If granted, a variance essentially would have moved the park's northern property line to the center of the road, allowing the structure to comply with a 50-foot setback requirement.
Some council members and citizens, however, expressed misgivings. Councilman Gary Boorom argued the matter should have gone before Waverly's Board of Adjustments, which hears appeals and grants variances related to zoning issues.
"We are saying, 'Oh, this is a city. We don't have to do that.' That bothers me completely," Boorom said.
The council voted 4-2 against vacating the street. Council members Kathy Olson and Richard Lindell supported the resolution. Councilman Jim Vowels, director of the Greater Waverly Municipal Band, abstained from the vote and did not participate in the discussion Monday.
Those spearheading the project favor Kohlmann Park after considering other sites in Waverly. The riverside park is scenic and has worked well for band concerts for several years, according to Richard Moeller, chairman of the band shell committee.
Moeller said Thursday night concerts, which this year run from June 2 through July 14, attract as many as 500 people.
"Our intent is to entertain the public and provide a social atmosphere and of course some fun for those who have come to witness the presentation," Moeller said.
Committee members want to build a shelter on the park's north end because of space and aesthetics. The property narrows as it approaches Bremer Avenue in the south.
A petition signed by 500 people opposed to the Kohlmann Park location cited flooding, property devaluations, traffic and safety as concerns.
"I just want to say in getting signatures for this petition we found a lot of support for the band," said Sherry Wagoner, who opposes the project at Kohlmann Park. "It's just that the site isn't a good one."
Some expressed support for the concept but suggested Memorial Park at the Bremer County Fairgrounds as a more appropriate location.
Committee member Mark Mueller disagreed, saying some of the concerns are misguided.
"If that (Kohlmann) park is such a hazard, we should be closing that park now," he said. "I think that's one of the safest places we can have it."
The project calls for a stage 50 feet wide, 30 feet deep and 20 feet high. Preliminary estimates put the cost at up to $150,000.
Olson suggested most of the perceived problems with Kohlmann Park can be solved.