The Manchester City Council is urging the library to reopen.
Currently, the Manchester Public Library is open on demand at the front door with limited inside appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But the City Council says they’re hearing from citizens who are frustrated at the limited services.
The Council discussed the issue with Library Director Kristy Folsom at Monday night’s council meeting, trying to understand why the library is really the only public place in Manchester that hasn’t reopened as the pandemic has evolved. Folsom says she follows direction from the Library Board, which has chosen to follow a specific procedure while Delaware County is at the red and orange levels of community transition as determined by the CDC. When the county reaches the next lower level of yellow, the procedure recommends reopening with some restrictions. She also says she hasn’t been hearing those same frustrations from citizens. According to Folsom, hundreds of patrons are using their limited services right now – and she notes that the library hasn’t had a demand for appointments.
But the Council says that’s because people don’t want to make appointments – they want to get into the library to freely browse at their convenience. Two Manchester residents spoke up at last night’s meeting, agreeing with the Council that it’s time to reopen – and that it can be done in a safe way with masks required.
Folsom will share the concerns with the Library Board, who will be holding their next board meeting Thursday at 7:30 am in the library’s children’s room. Anyone with concerns about the library’s reopening process is encouraged to attend.
In other Manchester City Council news, a few council members shared concerns about the City’s ATV/UTV Ordinance, which has now been in effect for several years. Council member Connie Behnken says she feels duped because it’s not being utilized the way the advocates originally promised. Manchester’s ordinance states that ATVs and UTVs are not allowed in the downtown district or on state highways – and they can’t go over 25 mph. But Behnken says they’re showing up downtown – with some ATVs and UTVs traveling down city streets higher than that speed limit. And it’s been a challenge for authorities to police it. She’d like to see the ordinance rescinded, with ATVs and UTVs no longer allowed in Manchester. Council member Dean Sherman disagrees, saying it’s no different than being able to ride a bicycle or a moped on city streets. Council member Tania Bradley says she hopes by bringing this up that it will remind the public there are rules in place – and if they’re not followed, rescinding the ATV/UTV Ordinance could be an option.
And the Manchester City Council also heard from a group of University of Iowa graduate students, who have come up with a strategic growth plan for the city of Manchester.
The City has partnered with the university’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities program on over a dozen projects this past school year. The students have been working with local officials, gathering input, researching data and then presenting their plans on everything from the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Plan to community marketing.
City Manager Tim Vick:
The City of Manchester is also expecting around 300 jobs to be created this year as the new Dollar Fresh store opens and XL Specialized Trailers expands their facility, so housing is an urgent need. And Vick says they’re working on that as we speak.
The U of I students told the City their research showed that Manchester should prioritize annexation of the southwest side of town, with that area of town the best potential for growth.
Vick says they will soon be posting the Strategic Growth Plan to the City of Manchester’s website for the public to view.