CEDAR FALLS — The city is applying for what would be, in Cedar Falls, a record dollar amount to the Black Hawk County Gaming Association toward a new public safety building.
The City Council last week approved applying for $750,000 for the up-to $11 million project. If approved, in total that would be the largest dollar-value grant the association has given for a project in Cedar Falls.
In the past, the association awarded three separate $500,000 grants each for a tennis courts project undertaken by the city, Cedar Falls schools and the University of Northern Iowa; one to UNI alone for UNI-Dome football turf; and one to UNI for a scoreboard at the Dome.
City government individually previously received $450,000 for pedestrian, bike safety and landscaping improvements for the University Avenue reconstruction project. The association also granted $150,000 for the Island Park Beach House reconstruction project.
The city’s request may be taken up late this year or early next, depending when the application is filed, said commission administrator Beth Knipp.
Cedar Falls Public Safety Director Jeff Olson said the city’s hoping to apply for the grant and let bids for construction before year’s end, at the end of the current construction season, in order to hold costs down.
Olson and city staff outlined why they feel the building is needed.
The existing main fire station at East 18th and Main streets, built in 1957, is in a flood zone, and some of the floor has been replaced due to water damage. Parking is limited; vehicle exhaust is improperly ventilated. The bay doors are narrow for modern trucks and the building will need to be replaced soon. It would remain in operation as a fire substation if the new building is built.
The current police department, in the basement of City Hall, is cramped. Officers have to write incident reports and take statements in hallways; there is only a one-stall sally port; the prisoner temporary holding facility is close to victim and witness areas and prisoners sometimes have to share cells; staff is scattered in different parts of the building; there is a lack of storage space and other departments in City Hall would like additional space. Police also use multiple buildings for storage of tactical gear, evidence and other items.