Efforts to improve the comfort of customers and employees at J Bruners inadvertently created a conflict with the facade project currently underway in Clarinda.
Joe and Emily Akers, owners of J Bruners, met with the Clarinda City Council Wednesday, Aug. 14, to discuss the installation of two air conditioning units that were planned for the restaurant.
With the glass front near the patio area of the restaurant, Emily said the summer months caused temperatures to rise creating an uncomfortable environment. To lower the temperatures, Clarinda Heating and Cooling recommended installing two air conditioning units.
Joe said he explored placing the units at the rear of the building where the refrigeration units are located, but the length of the lines would compromise their effectiveness. Placing the units on the roof would result in air conditioning lines running down the front of the building, while the neighboring business is not tall enough to screen the units if they were placed on the side of the building.
“It’s just kind of a no win situation. We looked at all aspects,” Joe said.
Therefore, Joe said it was decided the best place for the air conditioning units would be on the metal awning above the restaurant. However, after the first unit was installed, Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon contacted the owners that the positioning of the unit conflicted with the terms of a contract they signed with the city agreeing not to change the appearance of the facade for seven years.
“This is strictly a contract between the city and Joe and Emily. It does not affect the grant at all,” McClarnon said.
Emily said J Bruners was one of the original participants in the facade project. She said the business was encouraged to stay involved when Clarinda had its initial Community Development Block Grant revoked and had to reapply for funding for the project.
“We did not have a lot invested in the facade project,” Emily said. “We just got a little bit of tuckpointing; they scrapped and painted the windows up front; and then our signage.”
Joe said the initial unit has successfully lowered the temperature of the lounge by approximately five degrees. Still, when they were contacted by McClarnon, Joe and Emily stopped the installation of the second unit until they could meet with the city council to determine a workable solution to mask the appearance of the air conditioning units.
“If we allow this, we’re three years in on the contract with four years left, but we’re kind of setting a precedent for others on the square that participated. That’s the only problem I see,” Clarinda mayor Lisa Hull said.
Options that were discussed during the meeting included painting the units to match the color of the facade or finding a way to box in the units so they better matched the appearance of the facade. Joe agreed to work with Clarinda Heating and Cooling to determine the best solution and present a proposal to the city council at its next meeting Wednesday, Aug. 28.
Also during the meeting, the council approved a change order from Grand Construction in the amount of $22,780.25 for the facade rehabilitation project. The change order involved the purchase of motorized awnings for J’s Pizza and Steakhouse that would be fully funded by the business owner.