DeWitt City Hall

City officials are opening the DeWitt Aquatic Center after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds recently lifted restrictions. 

The governor’s June 12 proclamation gave public pools and senior centers the option to open at full capacity if they follow recommended health measures. 

The DeWitt Aquatic Center has a schedule in place for lap swimming, private lessons and rentals for team practices, and those services go from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and part of the weekend. That schedule is effective through the end of July. 

Beginning July 5 — and throughout the month of July — the DeWitt Aquatic Center plans to be open for public recreational swimming 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. 

Once private lessons are completed, the recreational swimming hours will expand in August to 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. 

“Our facility is one of very few municipal pools that is open for the 2020 season, said DeWitt Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Lake. “We are taking precautions to keep both our patrons and staff safe.”

The aquatic center will allow a maximum of 500 swimmers for recreational times. 

“When 500 patrons are in the facility, guests will not be allowed to enter until someone leaves,” Lake said. “This is for everyone’s safety. Social distancing of employees and patrons, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures will be encouraged to reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The 500-person limit is subject to change, Lake said.

There will be no season passes for 2020. A “punch pass” can be used by people of all ages. A 12-visit punch card, available after July 5, can be purchased for $53. Individual gate prices will be: Adults 13+ $6; Students (6-12) $4; Preschool (0-5) $3; Non-swimmers (adult accompanying a child) $3.

Recreational swimmers must enter the pool using the season pass gate located on the north side of the bath house. The bath house, including locker rooms, will not be open. Restrooms will be available, including the family-change restroom. 

The aquatic center’s last day will be Aug. 16.

The concession stand will be closed. 

“Patrons may bring (non-alcoholic) drinks and snacks,” Lake said. “Drinks and snacks must be consumed in the canopied concession area.”

Brookview speeds assessed

A radar system set up on DeWitt’s Brookview Drive recorded a wide variety of speeds — including a high of 55 mph — that prompted action by the city council. 

Several people living along Brookview Drive in DeWitt expressed concern with speeders zipping down their street. The city placed the radar system on the route from May 19 to May 27 to gather traffic data. 

The collected data said an estimated average of 300 motorists used the route daily with peak traffic times between noon and 2 p.m. and again 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The average speed on the tested days was between 23-26 mph, and the high speeds varied between 37-55 mph.

DeWitt Chief of Police Dave Porter recommended action to limit speeds. He said the area’s development, in addition to the recent allowance of golf carts, ATV’s and side-by-side type vehicles, has increased traffic in the area. 

“We cannot be there all the time to enforce speed violations,” Porter said. “A fair portion of the increased pedestrian traffic is from Ekstrand Elementary student using the marked school crossing.” 

Porter recommended installing a three-way stop. 

The council unofficially agreed to the stop signs, which can be made official by vote at the next meeting. 

Other business

In other business, the council:

• Approved the purchase of a new fire truck for the DeWitt Volunteer Fire Department. The new truck will replace the department’s 1990-model tanker truck and cost $346,449. City officials say the tanker truck is worn out, has high maintenance costs and is not used much. Officials also said it “doesn’t make sense for the city to have a tanker considering the strong infrastructure we have for water supply.” 

The new truck will serve multiple purposes including quick-attack firefighting, water pumping, traffic control and fighting brush fires. It will serve as the city’s second engine, according to documents provided by the fire department. 

• Approved several contracts to repair hail damage to roofs of multiple city-owned buildings. The repair costs are covered by the city’s insurance provider. 

The buildings involved include the fitness center, Referral Center, fire station, police station, wastewater facility buildings, city maintenance garage, community center, and various pump houses and a storage building. 

• Released a lien on 900 Second Ave. that was in place for sidewalk and driveway improvements completed as a part of road work done in 2013. The $1,285.68 for the work has been paid in full. 

• Approved a plat change to property owned by Pete Courtney on Lake Street near U.S. Highway 61. Courtney requested his 9.27-acre parcel be divided into two parcels for additional development. The arrangement was previously approved by the DeWitt Planning and Zoning Commission. 

• Approved a plat change to property owned by Todd Connor 270th Street south of town. Courtney proposed the subdivision of 26.95 acres into three separate, buildable lots The subdivision was previously approved by the DeWitt Planning and Zoning Commission.

• Approved the release of a forgivable loan mortgage on 1208 Fourth Avenue upon payment of the loan’s balance. The home’s occupant, Nathan Poell, participated in the city’s home rehabilitation program in 2014.

“At that time, the forgivable loan agreements required 10-year depreciation,” said Lindner. This agreement (will be) fully depreciated in May of 2024. The original loan was for $33,407.74, and that has been depreciated to $13,363.10. Mr. Poell plans to sell his house and pay the balance of the forgivable loan upon closing scheduled in late June.”

• Approved the potential closure of the alley south of St. Joseph Church. The closure would enable the church to hold outdoor services if necessary. The closures would take place between June 20 and September on Saturdays 3:30 to 6 p.m. and on Sundays 7 a.m.  to 11:30 a.m.

• Approved to continue banking agreements with both First Central State Bank and DeWitt Bank & Trust.