Council discusses body armor, prairies and more

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The regular meeting of the Muscatine City Council was held on Thursday, May 4.  After unanimous approval of the consent agenda, the council listened to the reading of two proclamations.

The first proclamation read by Mayor Diana Broderson declared the week of May 21-27 as “Emergency Medical Services Week,” stating the theme for the week would be “EMS Strong- Always in Service.”

The second proclamation declared the month of May as “National Bike Month,” and the week of May 15 to 17 as “Bike to work week,” with Friday, May 19 being named as “Bike to work day.”  Muscatine residents are encouraged to participate by biking around town and to work.

The council was presented with a request by the Muscatine Police Department to accept a donation from Kent Corporation.  The proposed donation of $41,600 would be used by the department to purchase new equipment for the Special Response Team.

Lt. Tony Kies of the Muscatine Police Department explained to the council that if approved, the funds would be used to purchase bullet proof vest for the team.  Kies explained that each vest has a wear life of 5 years before needing to be replaced.  In addition to the vests, the team would be able to be outfitted with new ballistics helmets that would also improve communications for the tram while in situations where traditional communication may be limited.

The council unanimously approved to accept the donation.

The area of land around the Muscatine Transfer Station was up for discussion at the meeting as well.  The council was asked to approve a landowner agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the Houser Street Pollinator Park Project.

The park is a collaborative effort between the USFWS, the City of Muscatine, and the Muscatine Pollinator Project.   The group is working to restore native habitat under the Regional Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Strategic Plan.

The area is between 28 and 30 acres.  Currently, a wetland is established on the land.  The groups will work together to cultivate approximately 16 acres into a prairie.  The prairie will be established with wildlife to entice and feed bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, in addition to small wildlife such as ground animals.

Planting of the first eight acres will begin this spring. A second eight acres is anticipated to be planted in the fall of this year, along with several trees.

The prairie is expected to be fully established by 2020.  Once complete, the land will include both prairies and wetlands, and will be incorporated into the trail expansion in Muscatine.  The area will be available for bird watching, pollinator studying, and wildlife viewing.

For more information on the project contact the Muscatine Pollinator Project.

The request was unanimously approved.

The final item on the agenda read, “Request to receive and file post-hearing removal briefs and proposed decisions and set item on May 11, 2017 in-depth agenda for discussion and possible action regarding removal petition.”

The request was unanimously approved.

The Voice of Muscatine will be present at the meeting, and will continue to update as information is made available.