|Council Votes 4-3 In Favor Of Supporting Blue Zones Project|
|Tuesday, 20 May 2014 07:57|
The Oskaloosa City Council once again voted in favor of supporting the Blue Zones Project on Monday night.
Councilman Jason Van Zetten is the chair of the planning committee in charge of determining the city's involvement with the project. In order to achieve Blue Zones certification, the committee has to select community policy pledge items that total at least 17 points (each item has a point value) by June 9.
There are four different categories in the pledge: Complete Streets Policy (committee has to implement two items), Tobacco Policy (committee has to implement one item), Active Living Policy (committee has to implement two items) and Healthy Eating Policy (committee has to implement two items).
Here are a few examples of what the committee is considering:
Van Zetten says he's concerned these pledge items will require money from the council in the future.
"How much money are we going to attach to some of these programs?" Van Zetten says. "The fact is we need to start establishing some budget number before we move forward."
City Manager Michael Schrock responded.
"It really does depend in how much the community wants to see," Schrock says.
Van Zetten says he doesn't believe the government should limit choices. He also says if the council is involved, it will eventually have to commit money to Blue Zones.
"I couldn't get $35,000 to do a traffic study that Aaron (Ver Steeg) and I took a stand on that made absolute sense that this council voted down on. Now we're magically going to find money for Blue Zones?" Van Zetten says.
"I guess what I'm hearing is the community is saying these things are priority," Schrock says. "That's what gives you support to do that."
Councilman Doug Yates, along with Councilwoman Scottie Moore, says he's only heard positive feedback from the community.
"I haven't had a single comment from a person in this community that (is) not 100 percent pushing us to support Blue Zones," Yates says. "I've got a ton of input, as much on this as any subject we've done, and it's been nothing but, 100 percent, move this forward for our community."
Councilman Aaron Ver Steeg says the project is valuable in other areas of the community.
"This belongs in the school, I'm not against the school having this. Educate the kids. But don't try and get the city involved in it," Ver Steeg says.
Pam Blomgren is a member of the Blue Zones Project leadership team called "Power 9." She told the city council that the project needs the council to approve the resolution outlining its pledge items before June 9. Blomgren says the council can still modify what it plans to support moving forward.
"My concern tonight is that we don't kill the project at this stage. If you guys decide that at some point you can't do everything that there is on the community pledge, and we don't get certified, so be it. I still think that you have a lot of community members, you have a lot of volunteers, you have a lot of businesses, who are very much in favor of this, and I urge you to please don't kill it," Blomgren says. "Because not supporting it, and pulling your support, does kill the project, it's done."
Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt suggested approving the resolution and then evaluating how these items can be implemented at a later date.
The council approved supporting 15 different items that total 25 points, eight more points than the required amount, on a 4-3 vote. Van Zetten, Ver Steeg, and Councilman Tom Jimenez voted against it.
Here's a link to the complete list of pledge items the council approved, and which items it turned down.
In other agenda items, the council unanimously approved a site plan for Webster School parking improvements along the north side of 5th Avenue East between South 7th Street and South 9th Street. The project has two different phases.
Phase One will have 21 standard, angled parking spaces, and two handicap accessible angled parking spaces, and will be located from South 7th Street to South 8th Street. The school will begin construction of Phase One this year.
Phase Two will have 20 standard, angled parking spaces, and will be located from South 8th Street to South 9th Street. Construction of this phase will only take place if the school has a need.
Along with that, the council unanimously approved the first reading amending the city code pertaining to school loading and unloading zones.
The council unanimously approved the following agenda items:
The next city council meeting is on June 2 at 6 p.m.