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Mason City family concerned about NIACC’s new training center

MASON CITY - Rob and Joy Wilcox are worried. Already dealing with water issues at their home at 3902 4th Street SE in Mason City, a Regional Training Center already OK’d by the NIACC board of directors threatens to magnify the problem.

MASON CITY – Rob and Joy Wilcox are worried. Already dealing with water issues at their home at 3902 4th Street SE in Mason City, a Regional Training Center already OK’d by the NIACC board of directors threatens to magnify the problem. The NIACC board recently met in Osage to discuss and vote on the training center location.

Speaking to NorthIowaToday.com about the water issues at his home and the dilemma posed by the new training center, Rob Wilcox explained that his home sits next to NIACC property that is currently farmland. This farmland is directly east of his property and slopes upward from his property. He says the water run-off has been causing serious water issues in his home for years. “We can easily get a couple inches of water in our basement after a strong rain. More than once we have had eighteen inches of water in our basement when it gets bad. There’s just nowhere for the water to go.” He says the drainage ditch outside the south side of his home can’t be dug any deeper due to utility lines under it. “Since the ditches can’t be dug deeper, excess water run-off will run through all the neighbors backyards” and towards the homes in Eastbrooke.

Mr. Wilcox says the new training facility that will go at the bottom of the hill and right outside his backyard will make the problem much worse due to the concrete parking lots that will go in and the loss of a water collection trench in the farm field.

On a tour of his property, Mr. Wilcox pointed out just how close the training center will be. An access driveway and parking lots will literally be set right outside his back yard. He says the loss of the water collection trench coupled with the concrete parking lots and the natural slope of the land will put his home right in the path of much more water run-off than he is already dealing with.

Mr. Wilcox has approached Mason City Fire Chief Bob Platts, City Administrator Brent Trout, and all six Council Members with varying degrees of interest in his problem. “Mr. Trout informed me that the project is a full go-ahead. The City Council members are just now finding out about this. That’s troubling.”

He is also troubled by how quickly the training center project has moved through the process of getting the go-ahead with little or no dialogue or notice to people living in the area. “I don’t think the people of living in Eastbrook are aware of this at all. It’s very close to them. Most of the City Council didn’t know about this until I brought it to their attention.”

Apparently, there is $511,000 in state funds NIACC received that is allocated to this project that must be used by June 30, 2011. That could be one of the reasons this project is on a fast-track to completion. The funds are to be used in partnership with the Mason City Fire Department. The City and NIACC may be hurrying the project along in order to take advantage of these state funds.

A public meeting involving “the stakeholders” in the project is planned for sometime in early November. NorthIowaToday.com will report the date, time and location of the meeting as soon as it is made public.

(TOP PHOTO of Rob Wilcox at his property, with location of training center in the background.)

Photo gallery:

View of location where Regional Training Center will be constructed. Photo is taken while standing about fifteen feet east of Rob and Joy Wilcox’s property.
The NIACC board of directors approved this site for the location of the Regional Training Center. Site surveyors have already been out to the site. This view is from the top of the hill facing southwest looking directly at Rob and Joy Wilcox’s property and Highway 122.
This water collection trench will be lost during construction of the training center.
View of Eastbrooke neighborhood from the water collection trench.
View of the slope of the farmland toward the water collection trench.
View of a drainage pond at the top of the hill overlooking the Wilcox property. This is standing water to help with water run-off. Mr. Wilcox says it overflows fairly easily. Another drainage pond is proposed at the bottom of the hill next to the Wilcox property.
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