Biltwell owner seeks alleyway improvements

The owner of the Biltwell Apartments, 106 N. 10th St., is hoping to form some sort of partnership with the city and possibly surrounding business owners to fix the alley near the apartments.

Derek Wallen, of Omaha, Nebraska, stood in front of the Fort Dodge City Council Monday night during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Wallen said he’s experienced flooding problems due to the condition of the alleyway.

“The alleyway on the side of the building that splits us and the medical facility,” he said. “We have a bunker on that side of the alley. The alleyway is in such poor shape I am leaking water into my building.”

Wallen said he was told by Councilman Dean Hill and the city engineer Tony Trotter that the city has “zero budget for alleyways.”

“I am not the only one with this issue; I know that,” Wallen said. “They have been told to fill it in, well who pays for that square footage. We aren’t getting any help in maintaining the alleyways that are leaking into our buildings.”

He added, “I just want to find some support. I was also told I could pave it — well that’s nice, but do I get it? Can I put in a fence in there and call it a smoking lounge?”

Mayor Matt Bemrich said there have been cooperative agreements in the past with adjacent owners and the city in regards to alleyways, but said it would take some time to figure out what’s possible in this particular circumstance.

“This is a good way to start,” Bemrich said. “We can find out how much this costs and how we can come up with something to benefit everyone and how the city could share in that expense in making some repairs. Community Health might be interested in having a better alleyway, and some other businesses down that way.”

Bemrich said it could take some time before a plan is put into action.

“Is it going to happen this year?” he said. “Probably not. But can we patch it in and try and improve this next year.”

Bemrich said City Manager David Fierke would be in contact with Wallen on the alleyway issue.