February 28, 2024

Westwood clubhouse and airport apron expansion top priorities for council

Parks and street projects also appear on 2023-2025 city council goals

Renderings by ISG, Inc. show what the interior of the Westwood Golf Course Clubhouse could look like when fully constructed.

Following its annual goal setting session, the Newton City Council has officially accepted and set its 2023-2025 goals, and right at the top is the Westwood Golf Course Clubhouse. Specifically, council members have made the second phase improvements of the clubhouse their No. 1 goal, estimated at $500,000.

Newton City Administrator Matt Muckler said the big takeaway he got from the goal setting session was the council was focused, and they understood the city does not have unlimited funds at its disposal. Five years ago, there were 18 or so items identified as goals. Each year since they’ve decreased.

For the 2023-2025 goals, there are a total of six goals:

• Westwood Clubhouse Phase 2 Improvements ($500,000).

• Airport Apron Expansion ($80,000 plus matching grant funds).

• Portland Concrete Patching of Various Streets ($1,000,000).

• FY25 Downtown Street Improvements ($955,000 TIF funding).

• Aurora Park Tennis Court Construction and Resurfacing ($430,000 plus matching funds of $150,000 from the Newton Community School District).

• Aurora Park LED Court Lighting ($180,000).

The consensus Muckler gets from council’s goals is that officials are prioritizing parks and streets. By the time phase one construction of the Westwood clubhouse is completed, Muckler said the city will have a functional clubhouse. The second phase will provide enhancements.

At No. 2 is the apron expansion at the Newton Municipal Airport. Muckler said the reason this project is so high up on the council’s goals is because of more racing coming to the adjacent Iowa Speedway. In addition to the IndyCar races, the return of NASCAR requires the airport to have more space for the jets coming in.

“We have some other airport projects that we have needs for. One would be crack and joint sealing that’s about a $75,000 match. We have a new tractor purchase we need to make for that facility, and that’s another $75,000,” Muckler said. “I expect in FY25, FY26, FY27 we’ll do one each year.”

Street projects came in at No. 3 and No. 4 on the city council goals. Altogether, they will cost about $2 million. The first project is patching of various streets, and the other is downtown street improvements. Muckler said the city still has the FY24 downtown street projects that are being worked on now.

“In the spring, you’re going to see North Second Avenue East kind of over by Pence-Reese Funeral Home those couple of blocks completed,” Muckler said. “Then in the fall we’re going to come back on the west side by Advantage Credit Union and Book Trader and do those couple of blocks.”

The final projects listed as city council goals mainly deal with Aurora Park and the improvements to the tennis courts. The school district’s contribution will cover the resurfacing costs, but the city will likely add more courts. Muckler said when the school district hosts tennis matches the junior varsity go to Maytag Park.

Which leaves the varsity to play at Aurora Park. Muckler said the problem is the district has one tennis coach, and the courts at Maytag Park have seen better days. So it is questionable whether the city should be investing its money at Maytag Park, especially when Aurora Park has the better facilities to build on.

“There’s also some needs for walking paths in between the courts so the coaches can move around and coach,” Muckler said. “Obviously, we’ll visit with school folks … But that’s the list of goals. And we did have a list of 27 things that we kind of approved by consent. They’re not goals but they’re low budget things.”

Here are those additional, low budget projects:

• Park Shelter & Restroom Upgrades ($10,000 annually, General Fund Budget).

• Zero-Turn Mower – Cemetery ($11,200).

• Large Format Scanner ($12,000).

• Six-Foot Zero-Turn Mower – Parks ($18,000).

• Tree & Stump Removal in Parks ($25,000).

• City Hall 2nd Phase Microzone Replacement ($25,000).

• Library Heater Replacement ($29,000).

• ADA Improvements in Parks ($30,000 annually).

• Community Services Vehicle ($35,000).

• Knox Box System Upgrades ($50,000).

• Police Computers & Technology ($56,500).

• Police Equipment – Miscellaneous ($58,000).

• Parks Mechanic Truck ($66,000).

• Airport Joint and Crack Sealing Project ($74,500 plus $670,500 FAA Funding).

• Police Department Vehicles ($120,000).

• Outdoor Warning Sirens and Activation Equipment ($140,000).

• West Eighth Street Traffic Signal Improvements ($160,000 Road Use Tax).

• West Eighth Street North Bridge Approach Replacement ($165,000).

• D&D Funding ($175,000).

• Union Cemetery Street Repair Project ($180,000 Perpetual Care Funds).

• Landfill HMA Overlay Project ($200,000 Landfill).

• Plow Truck Replacement ($225,000 Road Use Tax).

• South Eighth Avenue Hot Mix Asphalt Mill and Overlay ($225,000).

• Water Main – South Fifth Avenue West, 400-700 blocks – Phase 1 ($260,000 Water).

• Purchase of Smart Meters ($300,000 Water).

• Medic 2 Ambulance Replacement ($330,000).

• WPC Northeast Pump Station Improvements ($575,000 Sewer).

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.