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Making Room For Progress

February 13, 2014
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News


Concerns about the removal of the grove of oak trees from the community center site was expressed to Emmetsburg City Council at the Jan. 13 meeting.

Candy Brotherton addressed the Council, stating when she came to Emmetsburg ten years ago she lived across the street from the golf course and admired that patch of oak trees.

Article Photos

Trees removed at site of new Emmetsburg Community Center.

"I think those oak trees are worth hanging on to, or finding a way to make that community center figured in a way that we could hang on to those oak trees," she told the council. "Is there a way to get that center modified so those trees could enhance the building?"

Fielding the question, City Administrator John Bird said, "The simple answer is yes. The building could be placed in the parking lot area, but then the oak trees would have to be remove anyway to have a parking lot."

"I hate to see oak trees, that can last anywhere from 100 to 500 years, disappear because this building isn't working quite right," said Brotherton.

Fact Box

A Public Hearing for approval of plans and specifications for the Emmetsburg Community Center Site Improvements project:?7:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14, City Hall.

Public Hearing for approval of plans and specifications for the Emmetsburg Community Center Building Construction project: 6 p.m. Monday, March 3, City Hall.

Councilman Tony Kauten added, "Really the only place we could move it would be to the parking lot. We can at least figure out a way to save some(trees), but we will not be able to save them all. We did take a lot of time to look at that and a lot of time to address that."

Councilman Brian Campbell said, "You did look at placement to save the most trees you could."

Kauten concluded, "We will be placing new trees on the site."

Candy Brotherton circulated a petition in Emmetsburg to "Save the Trees." Publicity was generated through a Sioux City television news segment.


The City of Emmetsburg purchased the Emmetsburg Country Club building and lot from Wild Rose Casino & Resorts in 2008 for use as a golf clubhouse. Planning for a community center began over three years ago with a community meeting at the former Emmetsburg Country Club building.

Emmetsburg City Council met at the former clubhouse in July 2011 to discuss the possibility of razing the building and constructing a new facility. From that point, community residents volunteered to serve on committees and held public meetings to develop a plan. The final floor plan of the center and placement on the site was re-worked by numerous community volunteers and the project architect.

Funding for the community center has come from pledges by individuals and businesses, in addition to a CAT Grant from the State of Iowa.

An advertisement seeking bidders to remove trees from the site was placed in the local newspaper Dec. 31, 2013 and Jan. 2, 2014. Prospective bidders were informed there were 21 mature oak trees and 21 mature cedar trees to be removed from the proposed community center site, with a completion date of March 31, 2014. Two bidders responded by the bid end date of Jan. 13. Low bid of $5,500 was submitted by Quality Tree Service, Mallard. A second bid of $35,460 was submitted by DeLoss Construction, Spencer. The bid was awarded at the Jan. 27 meeting of Emmetsburg City Council.

Emmetsburg City Councilman Tony Kauten and City Administrator John Bird addressed the removal of trees at the Jan. 13 meeting. Both acknowledged that it is necessary to remove trees from the site of the community center. Kauten pointed out that the base for the community center would damage the root system and the existing trees would become unstable and would not survive. He noted that new trees will be planted on the site.



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