When the Elkader City Council met last Monday they approved Rob Frieden as the new councilman who will replace Steve McCorkindale.
Mary Harstad, of Main Street Design Committee, reported to the council on plans for Mascara Park, which is situated next to city hall. The committee hopes to put into place a Peace Pole.
“Peace Poles are spread throughout the whole world,” said Harstad. “We think it is really important to keep the identity of the Sister City Park,” she added.
Also in their plans is seating and a butterfly garden area. Evergreens will be planted because they are the most cost effective. Most of the labor and plants is expected to be donated explained Harstad. Mayor Bob Garms reminded the committee that the City doesn’t have any money to contribute, but thanked them for the update.
Jill Sanders, director of Elkader Public Library, gave her update on the community survey; she said that 80 percent of the community that filled in the survey, felt that the library service was excellent and a further two percent, said it was average. She also said that the community was happy with the hours. However, she did say that more computer lanes were suggested.
“It is good to do this survey every seven years,” she said.
Jerry Gamm, public works director, reported to the council that the roads were deteriorating at Maxi and Ginger Avenues.
“I propose we fill in the cracks to prevent deterioration,” he said.
A contract with Kluesner Construction, of Farley, was approved and the cost of the work will be $4017.60. Garms pointed out that local option sales tax will cover the cost.
The City Administrator, Jennifer Cowsert, updated the council on the restoration of the opera house and city hall.
Councilman Ken Seney said that they need to keep up on what is going on with the opera house because of fire chief issues.
Cowsert said that a grant is paying to put in a dressing area and showers and Garms added that no city funds are being used for these renovations.
The council was asked by a citizen when they would likely know what needed to be done, in order to be in accordance with fire safety regulations. The Fire Marshall has already looked at the situation and it will take some time to receive a report was the response.
“You have to wait for these guys to send you a report and it could be a year, one Fire Marshall says you do it this way and another will say another thing – they each recommend different things,” said Garms, explaining why it is hard to anticipate what the report will say.
Cowsert noted however, that a fire detection system and the stage wiring were likely items that will need to be taken care of. It was also noted that there is fire hazard of no illuminated exit signs and there is no emergency lighting, in the opera house.
In Cowsert’s administrative update, she reported to the city that Elkader received no money from the Upper Mississippi Gaming Commission for day cares or the police department, but she noted that other towns had received monies.
In other business the question of the river walk wall repairs were again an issue. Who should pay for the repairs of the wall and dam was discussed. It was said that the owners of the properties that run along the river walk did not think that they should pay. The issue will be further researched and it is being said that because the city done repairs previously that they may be liable. However, the general consensus was that it was not a priority.
“We [the city] are the owners of the dam,” said Betty Landis. “Could we not just remove the dam”? Landis added.
Garms pointed out that the cost of removing the dam would be just as expensive.
In concerns of the council Landis expressed her concern over the public’s response to an article in the Clayton County Register on the waste water plant.
“The dollar amount in the newspaper is the worst case scenario,” she said.
The project could triple consumer’s basic water rates.
“We just don’t know how much [it will cost] so you have got to look at the worst case scenario,” said Garms.