New Wetland Centre agreement still in development

By Trudy Balcom

The Driftless Area Wetland Centre is still in the process of finding its way through the process of re-organization after the 28E Agreement that created the foundation of the organization was dissolved on June 30.

Marquette City Attorney Jim Garrett addressed the city council regarding the matter at their meeting held July 16.

Garrett presented the council with a new draft 28E Agreement for the Continuation of the Driftless Area Wetland Centre, with some amendments, for their review. If approved, the new 28E would create a partnership between the MFL MarMac School District and the City of Marquette for continued operation of the Wetland Centre as a nature center.

Garrett had presented them with an earlier version of the document at the June meeting, in anticipation of the June 30 deadline for dissolution. The current draft of the document had to be amended after the City of McGregor, a former partner in the 28E, declined to sign a termination agreement in June. That event, along with delays due to the attorney’s personal schedule has resulted in a period of limbo for the Wetland Centre.

“The agency is dissolved, but they can still wrap up affairs,” Garrett informed the council. Legally, however the organization can do little else until it is reformulated.

He also provided them with a draft ordinance for the formation of a board of directors for the Centre. The draft ordinance provides for a five member board which would manage the day-to-day operations of the center. However, personnel decisions and the budget for the facility would be set by the city council.

The new 28E agreement must still be approved by the MFL MarMac School Board, and get a nod from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, a primary source of funding for the centre. The school district continues to express support for the project, and Garrett said that he was notified by DCA that the earlier version of the 28E was approved, so he expects no difficulty with completing the agreement. Both the draft ordinance and the 28E agreement will likely come before the Marquette Council at their August meeting. The August meeting has been rescheduled from the regular meeting date to Tuesday, Aug 13.

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