“More information” might have been the mantra for Monday’s Indianola City Council meeting.
The council deferred decisions on three items, opting to wait for more information on a nomination to the Indianola sustainability commission, a possible stop sign at Iowa Avenue and North 9th, and any changes to Indianola’s fireworks ordinance.
The council will gather updated traffic information at Iowa and 9th on Indianola’s east side before deciding whether to add a stop sign.
“Traffic flow throughout 9th street is horrendous,” said Brian Endrizal, a neighbor in the area. “It’s very chaotic.”
The corner does not meet the federal requirements for a four-way stop, said Akhilesh Pal, director of public works, with five reported accidents in more than six years. According to numbers from four years ago, Iowa Avenue has about 7,000 cars per day, while 9th has only about 2,000. That mismatch indicates no need for a stop sign, he explained.
Captain Brian Sher, interim police chief, suggested the police could collect updated traffic counts and speed data and report the updated numbers by Sept. 6.
The council also will gather more information before considering options for “tightening up” the city’s fireworks ordinance, members agreed during a study committee meeting Monday.
The police department received 59 calls and the fire department five about fireworks over the Fourth of July. There were two EMS calls, but no citations issued, according to numbers presented to the council.
The council discussed requiring anyone selling fireworks in the city to post dates and times when fireworks can be set off and strengthening rules about cleaning up after fireworks.
“What the officers are getting is ‘we didn’t know the hours, we didn’t know the time,’” said Sher. “At that point of sale, it’s right there in front of them.”
“We’ve lost respect,” said Parker. “People are firing them early and leaving their trash in the street and stuff. To me, that’s almost as big an issue.”
Council member Heather Hulen suggested the council could consider shortening the time that fireworks can be fired. The council asked for additional information on what can be done before considering any proposals.
The council also tabled an appointment to the Indianola Sustainability Committee.
“I’ve been on council 10 or 11 years and we’ve never formally appointed someone to the sustainability committee, so it’s a change,” noted Parker, adding that he wants to formalize whether the council should appoint members.
The council approved an ordinance allowing the city to issue parking permits to four to five county employees to park overnight on the Square. Overnight parking is not currently allowed, but Reeves said there is overlap between county employees who leave work at 8 a.m. and employees who arrive at or before 8 a.m.
The city is working with the county on a long-term parking solution, he said, with court employees, patrons and other staff, taking up parking around the Square.
“We have been in talks with the county about having their personnel not impact the businesses as much,” he said. “Nothing has been formalized yet.”
The council also heard from Rhonda Crouse of Crouse Café, who asked the council to consider restoring a handicapped parking spot in front of Crouse Cafe on East Salem Avenue that was removed during streetscape. Now the closest handicapped spot is at First Street and Salem or in a parking lot across the street, said Crouse.
“We have many customers who are not able to walk that distance because of lack of oxygen or lack of strength,” she said. “We’ve had a few who have us park their vehicle for them.”
Crouse said she had an 18-page petition with more than 400 signatures supporting the spot.
“They’re not just the people who want the spot there, they want it for others,” she said.
Kathi Stanfield of Indianola added that there are no handicapped spots on the southwest corner of the Square.
Reeves and community development director Charlie Dissell will meet with Crouse on the issue.
During his city manager’s report, Reeves noted an “extremely tough week on the Square” that included multiple gas and water breaks in the areas under construction on Ashland Avenue.
“It’s a tough working environment and we do need to have patience,” he told the council, adding that there also will be accountability for contractors. “I might step on toes a little bit,” he continued, “but I want to express appreciation to Charlie Dissell. Fantastic employee, the city should be honored and grateful to have him as an employee of our community. Some of the comments on Facebook are disappointing to say the least. He’s got a tough job and he’s doing great.”