DeWitt City Hall

The final plat for the Fieldstone of DeWitt senior living complex was approved by the DeWitt City Council Sept. 8, clearing one of the project’s hurdles before groundbreaking. 

Fieldstone will be built along Maynard Way and an extended version of 17th Avenue in DeWitt. The facility is a near $30 million investment by WellSpire, a joint venture between Wesley Life and Genesis Health System. Fieldstone will replace WellSpire Westwing Place, said DeWitt Hospital Foundation Director Robin Krogman. It will include over 90 beds and 95,000 square feet of space to offer assisted living, memory support, short-term rehabilitation and long-term care services.

The foundation is in the midst of a $5 million capital campaign to help fund Fieldstone. The foundation began the effort with a $1 million donation of its own, which was quickly matched by a second $1 million donation by an anonymous donor, Krogman said. 

As of last week, the capital campaign had raised $3.1 million — from both public and private donations – toward its goal. Krogman said groundbreaking for the Fieldstone facility is expected sometime this fall. 

COVID reimbursements on way 

The city will receive $123,396 in reimbursement to backfill COVID-19 mitigation expenses. 

The money comes from the Iowa COVID-19 Government Relief Fund and covers cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, and costs associated with public safety efforts. 

The amount of reimbursement was based on per capita population estimations. 

DeWitt City Administrator Steve Lindner said the money does not align with what city officials expected, but “we are not going to turn down $123,000 to argue over 500 people. We will take what we can get.”

The money does not cover supplies received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The city plans to seek reimbursement from FEMA for more items, including hand sanitizer, microphones used during public meetings, and a subscription for Zoom teleconferencing software, Lindner said. 

Autumn Fest still on tap 

DeWitt’s annual Autumn Fest celebration is right around the corner on Sept. 19. Due to coronavirus-related health concerns, city officials, the local public health department and event organizers are keeping close tabs on Clinton County COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates to determine if the event can take place, Lindner said. 

The event is organized by the DeWitt Chamber and Development Corp. as a way for the DCDC to thank residents for supporting local businesses. Planned festivities for the 33rd annual Autumn Fest include live music, children’s activities, a car show, and dance performances. 

And as of now, it’s on track. 

“The committee is prepared to cancel Autumn Fest if that is in the best interest of the community,” Lindner said. “This will be a difficult decision.”

In preparation, the council Sept. 8 approved a special event permit for Murphy’s Pub. 

Murphy’s Pub plans to host an evening event alongside Autumn Fest that requires the closure of 10th Street near Randy’s Neighborhood Market to the intersection of Sixth Avenue until midnight. 

“We will work with businesses in this corridor to make this possible,” Lindner said. The event at Murphy’s will include live music and a large beer menu. Lindner said the Murphy’s Pub event will require extra precautionary police presence, as it has in years past. Lindner said Murphy’s Pub will pay for the extra security. 

The council also approved a special event permit for a 9/11 memorial ride hosted by MJs Central Sept. 19 that will also overlap with Autumn Fest. The event will include parking for motorcycles and an area for outdoor service and music on Seventh Street from 3-7 p.m. Seventh Street will be closed Sept. 19 from 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

In other business, the council:

Approved a request by resident Jered Birt to use a septic system at his family’s new home at 2206 Scenic Ridge. The lot’s elevation hamstrung the property’s chances to tie in to the city’s sewer system. The alternative would have been installing lifting pumps connected to the city’s utilities. Birt will pay for the system, and it is pending the approval of the Clinton County Department of Health. 

Approved to continue collecting payroll taxes from city employees. An executive order by President Donald Trump permits the deferral of payroll taxes from Sept. 1 until Dec. 31. Lindner said city staff, in addition to “auditors and other cities” encouraged DeWitt to not proceed with the deferment. The measure was approved 4-1. Council member Garey Chrones dissented. 

Approved two annual reports due to the state of Iowa: the Iowa Department of Transportation Finance Report and 2019 Financial Report. 

Approved a street closure for the 2020 Central DeWitt Homecoming parade, which took place Sept. 10. 

Approved the 2020 urban renewal report. The required report includes all tax increment financing (TIF) activities for the state.

Approved a grant application to Alliant Energy that will help pay for a replacement automated external defibrillator (AED) unit at city hall. If the grant is accepted, the city will pay the remaining $400 for the unit.

Approved the purchase of a replacement bronze World War II service military marker. Last year, Lindner said the marker was damaged by a city staff member, and the family requested that it be replaced. Lindner said the new marker will cost $655, including installation.  

Approved the resignation of Nick Weber as city recreation supervisor. Parks & Recreation Director Kevin Lake and Linder are seeking a replacement. 

“Weber has done well at his position … and we wish him the best of luck in his new venture,” Lindner.