The historic cannon located in the Muscatine County Courthouse will be moved to the site of the Freedom Rock in Wilton. 

WILTON — Interior renovation of Wilton's historic City Hall is expected to begin this fall, but a facelift of the exterior will have to wait. The City Council Monday night unanimously approved a base bid of $394,393 from Precision Builders of Bettendorf for mechanical upgrades plus a bid of $79,800 for remodeling of offices, conference room and entry hall. The city has $400,000 budgeted for the project, but exterior renovation, expected to cost up to $150,000 more, is on hold because Wilton was not successful in winning state grant funding.

"I think we need to do something outside," Mayor Bob Barrett commented Monday night. City Administrator Chris Ball agreed. "After we do this bid, we need to determine what we want to do with the outside," Ball said.

On a related note, the council approved final payment of $41,989 to Cornerstone Commercial Contractors of Corning, Iowa for the Downtown Facade Revitalization Project, closing out the project at a final cost of $836,945. The original contract amount was $800,341.

Cannon destined for Wilton

The historic cannon now in the Muscatine County Courthouse will have a new home on the site of the Freedom Rock adjacent to Wilton's historic train depot, Wilton Development Corporation Executive Director Becky Allgood said. "The Muscatine County Supervisors donated a beautiful cannon to us that's inside the courthouse -- and also $5,000."

The Civil War era cannon, built in 1857 by the Cyrus Alger Co. of Boston, had been on the courthouse grounds, where decades of weather had taken a toll on the old artillery piece. The dilapidated gun was removed in December 2008 and restored to museum quality. Rather than return the cannon outdoors, the then Board of Supervisors decided to place it under a stairwell in the courthouse.

Stu Willits, the Jail Expansion Project Manager at the time, took special interest in the cannon renovation. "It looks nice under the staircase. It's a showpiece there," Willits was quoted in the Feb. 7, 2011 Muscatine Journal. "We have to take good care of it because it's a beautiful piece. You can't go out and buy yourself a cannon."


  • The council approved Pay Application No. 14 of $111,245 to WHR, Inc. of South Amana for the Wastewater Treatment System Improvements Project.
  • The council set a Sept. 9 public hearing for an amendment to the Wilton Urban Renewal Plan, necessary for disbursement of certain tax increment financing benefits.
  • The council approved a memorandum of understanding between the Police Department and the Community Center for an off-duty law enforcement officer to be provided at $35 per hour at events when alcohol is served.
  • The council approved purchase of training manikins for $2,807 by the Fire Department.
  • The council approved a request from Niche Etc. to use the ground behind the Niche building for a vendor/craft show Sunday, Sept. 22, or to use City Council Chambers in the event of rain.

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