Local stories to watch for in 2020

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After several years of fundraising, ground should be broken on McGregor’s Turner Park splash pad this spring. It’s one of the North Iowa Times’ top stories to watch for in the first half of 2020.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The news is anything but predictable, but as we leave 2019 behind and venture into a new year, the North Iowa Times has pinpointed five stories to watch for in the first half of 2020.

1) MFL MarMac bond referendum

In March, voters in the MFL MarMac School District are expected to consider a $7.8 million bond referendum measure for a facilities improvement project. The proposed project would include an elementary addition and new fieldhouse to the building in Monona, as well as repairs and improvements at the McGregor Center. 

Superintendent Dale Crozier and the school board have said the facilities improvements will offer long-term sustainability for the district. 

“By having good facilities, we’re going to draw people to our district, and enrollment is what drives us,” stated Crozier at a December meeting. “The idea is not athletics, it’s enrollment.”

If the bond measure passes, Crozier estimated a property owner would see an increase of around $88 in taxes per year on every $100,000 of assessed property.

2) Happy Birthday, Marquette!

At the end of March, the city of Marquette will celebrate its 100th anniversary—or 100 years since North McGregor was renamed Marquette. The community is in the process of organizing activities for the weekend of March 27-29 to commemorate the milestone. 

3) Turner Park splash pad

After several years of fundraising, the city of McGregor hopes to break ground on the Turner Park splash pad this spring. The splash pad will be like a water playground, drenching people in the recreation area with a series of ground sprays along with colorful and fun above-ground features. 

As of late December, $168,000 had been raised for phase I of the project, which will total around $225,000. Eventually, the Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages Committee hopes to add more features at the site, as well as a combined restroom/concession stand building.

A public hearing will be held at the council’s Jan. 15 regular meeting to approve final plans, specifications, opinion of cost and form of contract for the splash pad. Bid opening should occur in February

4) Monona Gateway Park playground

Monona will also break ground on a project at one of its parks this spring. In December, the $46,987 fundraising goal for phase I of the playground project at Gateway Park was met. Now, members of the community visioning committee and Monona Chamber and Economic Development, Inc., are working to get around $14,000 of the $17,275 needed to complete phase II.

Phase I funds will cover the purchase of the playground equipment and ADA cushioned pad at the 67-foot-by-36-foot site, while phase II will include clearing dirt, installing the cement and ADA cushioned pads and equipment and adding a donor plaque/Butterfly Trail map at Gateway Park.

5) Happy Birthday, Iowa State Parks!

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Iowa state parks system. Iowa will host a yearlong celebration to commemorate the centennial with special events, promotions and historical and cultural connections, according to the DNR. Pikes Peak State Park near McGregor, along with Yellow River State Forest near Harpers Ferry, will join in the festivities.

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