By Sam Parsons
The Mahaska Chamber held its first Eggs & Issues forum of the new year on Saturday morning at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa.
Present at the forum for the first go-round were a total of five local officials. Oskaloosa mayor Dave Krutzfeldt and Oskaloosa city manager Amal Eltahir were both on hand to answer questions from citizens related to the city of Oskaloosa, while all three members of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors – Mark Groenendyk, Chuck Webb, and Steve Wanders – were there to discuss issues related to county government.
Citizens asked the roundtable of local officials questions on a slew of topics, including adding certain types of businesses to the downtown area, promoting arts and culture within the community, and road conditions. When asked about when the parts of the new Mahaska YMCA under construction will be fully open, Mayor Krutzfeldt said that all of the construction was already completed except for the pools and that the city was working on getting the completed parts open “reasonably soon.”
The city representatives were also asked about the ongoing need for housing within Oskaloosa. Eltahir answered that housing is currently a “strategic priority” for the city and that there were steps that needed to be taken to encourage real estate development.
Among the questions asked early on in the forum was one related to the proposed airport in Mahaska County. Eltahir said that the city was no longer partaking in its legal battles and that the airport was still part of the city’s long term plan.
The next Eggs and Issues forum with the Mahaska Chamber is scheduled for January 28 and will feature lawmakers from the state level of government, including State Senator Ken Rozenboom and State Representatives Helena Hayes and Barb Kniff-McCulla.