Red Oak City Council

Red Oak City Council

(Red Oak) -- The Emerald Ash Borer's spread in Iowa is being felt in Red Oak.

At its regular meeting late Monday afternoon, the Red Oak City Council set a bidletting process for tree and stump removal in the community. Red Oak City Administrator Brad Wright tells KMA News hundreds of trees are identified for removal following a recent Iowa Department of Natural Resources survey indicating ash borer infestation in the community.

"We have several dead and dying ash trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer," said Wright. "The council did authorize going out for bids. We're actually putting together to remove between 100-to-150 trees that are within the streets' right of way--within the city's right of way--throughout the community. So, we'll be going out for bid, and getting bids to remove those. The deadline will be June 1st of next year."

Saying the move is heartbreaking, Wright adds the city's tree population will take a big hit.

"A lot of these are good-sized trees," he said. "We hate to see it--it just breaks my heart. And, that's not counting the trees that we are in the process, already, of removing in our parks and our cemetery. We've got a lot there, as well, that our employees have been working on taking down. But again, with the number, we felt we needed to go out for bid to remove the ones in the street right of way."

In other business, parking vehicles on front yards in Red Oak is one step closer to being illegal. Council members unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance amendment prohibiting the practice.

"It requires vehicles to be parked on an approved parking surface," said Wright, "either gravel under certain regulations, or concrete. We have a few locations around town, or folks that have their vehicles out in the front yard, and cut ruts in the yard, tracking mud out onto the street--some of those things. That's what this ordinance does--it prohibits that, and puts those regulations in place."

Wright says penalties for continuing to park vehicles in front yards would fall under the city's already-established nuisance regulations.

"It actually falls back under our nuisance ordinance," he said. "Therefore, our municipal infraction ordinance. So, we would have to send notice to those people--give them opportunity to move the vehicle, and not relocate it in that position. If they refuse to do so, it could fall under a municipal infraction, and that could actually be up to $750 if they refuse to move it upon notification."

The amendment's third and final reading takes place at the council's next regular meeting November 18th. The council also approved a five-member urban revitalization committee, a follow-up to the urban revitalization plan set earlier this year.