School and city officials in Wilton are looking forward to the sharing of resources with neighboring Durant. Wilton School Superintendent Joe Burnett told a joint meeting of the school board and the city council Monday night he will serve as superintendent of both the Wilton and Durant schools.
"Three months from now, I'll be starting the dual role — July 1st," said Burnett. Both school boards decided on the shared superintendent position after Durant Superintendent Duane Bennett announced his resignation.
"Sometimes necessities open your eyes to opportunities," Burnett said.
The two districts will split Burnett's salary evenly, resulting in substantial savings for both.
"I think it's a good move," commented Wilton Mayor Bob Barrett. "Makes sense. At the end of the day, it's more efficient."
The joint meeting preceded the council's regular meeting. Other topics to surface during the joint meeting included the potential hard surfacing of Division Street, sidewalks, the potential community recreation center, and this summer's Wilton Founders Day celebration.
The Founders Day observance will take place a weekend earlier and over an expanded downtown venue. The council during its regular meeting approved closure of designated downtown streets August 17 and 18 for the annual event, scheduled one weekend earlier than the last weekend in August format of the past several years.
Patrons will be allowed to carry beer through much of the downtown area, provided they are wearing a wristband indicating they are of age.
"I don't think we're going to have a lot of problems with this," Ball commented. "I've seen it done in a lot of areas."
"I think it's something the town is looking forward to for Founders Day," added Council Member Ted Marolf.
"I think a week earlier is going to help too because you don't have to go against high school football," said Council Member Keith Stanley. The council unanimously approved his motion for the street closure plan.
The Facade Improvement phase of Wilton's Downtown Renovation Project should be essentially completed by the time RAGBRAI rolls through town in July, Wilton Development Corporation Executive Director Becky Allgood reported. Work has centered on the historic Candy Kitchen, which Allgood said should reopen in two weeks. "Candy Kitchen's the biggest project," she said. "Then they'll start on Star Drug."
Allgood also reported application has been made to the State Historical Society for a $50,000 Historic Resource Development Program grant to renovate City Hall's exterior. She said 9 inflatables have been ordered for children's Founders Day activities. And she said planning is underway for a weekly farmers market.
A letter from a 10-year-old Wilton resident about sidewalks sparked response from city officials. "When I walk home from school there are no sidewalks on the side of the road where the city park is on Cypress Street," the letter from Gabriel Breed said. "On the opposite side of the street that has sidewalks, the sidewalks are broken and uneven ... and need to be repaired."
The letter suggested a bike path through town to make up for lack of sidewalks. "Because you don't want a pancake kid on the road due to not having enough sidewalks for kids," the letter continued. "So please add more sidewalks to this community."
"It's certainly on our agenda." Barrett commented.
Ball added the city has a sidewalk program for residents who want to improve their sidewalks. "There is an avenue to replace sidewalks if they choose to."
Gabriel Breed was among several members of Boy Scout Troop 151 attending the council meeting.
In other business
• The council approved payment of bills totaling $256,201.
• The council approved purchase of a new John Deere backhoe loader from Martin Equipment of Rock Island at a final price of $58,118.
• The council set an April 23 public hearing for potential extension of West Fourth Street to accommodate a new branch of the DeWitt Bank and to open other properties to development.