State Sen. Giddens stops by Traer Council

Fire station plans blaze forward

State Sen. Eric Giddens (D-Cedar Falls) speaks to members of the Traer City Council (off frame) during the entity’s regular meeting held in Traer Municipal Hall on Monday, August 1. –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

State Sen. Eric Giddens, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, stopped by the monthly meeting of the Traer City Council on August 1 in order to introduce himself to some of his new constituents.

Beginning with the 90th General Assembly which gavels in this coming January, Giddens will represent the new Iowa Senate District 38 which includes Traer as well as Cedar Falls, Hudson, Dysart, Evansdale, Elk Run Heights, Gilbertville, Washburn, LaPorte City, and Mount Auburn. Traer is currently part of Senate District 36, represented by Republican Jeff Edler of State Center. As a result of redistricting, Giddens is the only incumbent in the new District 36 and is not up for reelection until 2024.

Giddens briefly introduced himself during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“I’ve gained a lot of new territory [in the new Senate district] … Just want to say hi, let you know who I am. I’m here to serve you,” Giddens said.

Giddens shared with the council his various state senate committee assignments which include Education, Transportation, State Government, Commerce (ranking member), and Veterans Affairs (ranking member).

“I want you to know that as your new state senator anything that has to do with state government in any way, I’m a person you can reach out to and I encourage you to do that. What I get most enjoyment out of with this work is representing my constituents.”

Giddens also encouraged both the council and members of the public to pass his information along to any group or entity that might be interested in meeting Giddens.

“I appreciate your service,” Giddens said as he closed out his remarks. “It’s a tough time to be in public service right now. … I was a school board member before I was elected to the state senate so I know what it’s like to be a local elected official … [I’m] grateful for your service.”

Sen. Giddens can be contacted at 319-230-0578 or eric.giddens@legis.iowa.gov.

Fire station building update

Later in the meeting under Other Business, Traer Fire Chief Tyler Sell provided an update to the council on potential plans to build a new building adjacent to the current station located on Second Street. During last month’s council meeting, Sell continued a conversation with the council in regards to Traer Fire’s urgent need for storage for its new aerial truck which was officially able to go into service on Friday, May 27. The truck is too big to fit in the current station.

Sell presented to the council a letter detailing a proposal for a new, six-bay building. The building – with a cost estimate of $297,912.00 – would be 50 feet by 88 feet and would house the department’s largest trucks. The estimate does not include concrete approaches in front of and behind the building.

In the letter, the fire department proposes acting as general contractor for the project on behalf of the city.

By combining the roughly $240,000.00 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the city is set to receive with an estimated $116,961.00 in Traer Fire set-aside funds available, Sell asked the council to consider his department’s proposal bearing in mind some fundraising would need to be carried out for concrete work.

Sell said the plan would be to erect the building this fall in order to house the aerial truck before winter.

“It’s your money – city money – so we want to make sure that we’re being good stewards of that,” Sell said in closing. “It’s a quick solution that gets us many years down the road. If there’s a public safety building or if there are further buildings that come available and we can expand upon things, there’s potential there down the road.”

A motion was unanimously approved by the council to dedicate the city’s ARPA funds toward the additional fire station building.