WEST LIBERTY, Iowa - Work is nearing completion on the first phase of West Liberty's Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project. The City Council Tuesday night approved Pay Estimate No. 9 of $394,982 to Ricklefs Excavating of Anamosa for the state mandated $3.1 million first phase.

City Engineer Leo Foley said the first phase is 75 percent complete.

"It's up. It's operating," Foley commented. "It's still got some tweaks, but it's running the way the state wants."

The project contract calls for Ricklefs to complete the project by Feb. of 2017.

"They should be done before that," Foley said.

Ricklefs is also the contractor for the Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project, which has been delayed, Foley said, until a crane being used for the Wastewater Plant project is available.

"Things are going to start to happen," Foley said.

Ricklefs is under contract to complete the Water Treatment Plant project by April of 2017.

Foley also reported design work is close to completion, but moving electrical poles will cost more than originally estimated.

Improving storm water drainage from Heritage Park will have to be part of a larger project, City Manager Lawrence McNaul told the council. McNaul said that's the conclusion he and Foley reached after they visited the area.

Heritage Park is privately owned by the West Liberty Heritage Foundation, which wants a culvert placed to facilitate drainage. Foley told the council drainage from high school property all the way to the park becomes an issue. He estimated the cost of an engineering study at $5,800.

"We need to do a quick drainage study to look at what we are improving," Foley said.

One solution might be a water detention basin, perhaps funded by an Iowa DNR Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) grant.

"I think the Heritage Foundation and school would be happy," said Foley. "I think it would be the kind of project REAP would jump all over."

No official decisions were made, but the consensus of council was to move forward.

In other business:

• The council approved payment of claims totaling $107,905.

• The council set an Oct. 18 public hearing for changing the zoning of 1105 North Columbus Street from C-1 Highway Commercial to R-3 Mixed Residential.

• The council heard a report from We Lead West Liberty Director Shannon McNaul about We Lead's May-Aug. activities.