Colfax considering more handicapped parking on Main Street

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  — The Village of Colfax may soon have more handicapped parking spaces along Main Street.

The Colfax Village Board discussed adding more handicapped spaces at the October 13 meeting.

The issue, however, is not so much that the village would be providing more parking space for people with handicapped stickers or license plates, but rather, that the handicapped parking spaces would limit regular parking.

The problem, said Scott Gunnufson, village president, is that at the intersections of River Street and Main Street and Railroad Avenue and Main Street — with cars parked almost to the intersection — it is almost impossible for drivers on Railroad and River to see traffic coming on Main Street.

The village could eliminate parking all together in those spaces on Main Street, but completely eliminating the parking spaces would not be desirable either, he said.

Instead of removing the parking spaces, the village could turn those spaces next to the intersections into handicapped parking, Gunnufson said.

Village Trustee Annie Schieber, who also is the owner of A Little Slice of Italy, said turning a regular parking space into a handicapped space next to her business was not going to help.

The problem is that people park next to a pole where there should not be any parking at all, she said.

Schieber and Colfax Police Chief Bill Anderson both suggested putting a “no parking” sign on the pole by A Little Slice of Italy.

If the parking spaces by the intersections are handicapped parking, fewer cars will be parked right up to the intersection, Gunnufson said.

If the visibility for drivers pulling out on Main Street is still a concern, the parking spaces by the intersections can be eliminated all together, he said.

The Colfax Village Board approved a motion directing Rand Bates, director of public works, to research the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s requirements for handicapped parking and for “no parking” areas.

Schieber abstained from voting on the motion since the “no parking” spot would be next to her business.

Village Trustee Susan Olson also abstained from voting on the motion.

Olson said she frequently uses handicapped parking spaces and that she did not want to vote on a motion that would benefit her directly in being able to more easily find a parking spot.

Children at play

During the week prior to the October 13 village board meeting, drivers along Railroad Avenue may have noticed the Dunn County Sheriff Department’s speed sign that measures the speed of vehicles.

The sign was put up to track the speed of drivers in that area of town where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour.

Farther east on Railroad Avenue, the speed limit is 35 miles per hour, but vehicles still tend to drive at 35 mph even after they have entered the 25 mph zone.

The concern is that children who live and play on Pine Street and Balsam Street could end up out on Railroad Avenue.

The Colfax Village Board discussed putting up “children at play” signs along the side streets in that area.

Dunn County’s speed sign does encourage drivers to slow down because it makes them more aware of the speed at which they are driving, noted Police Chief Anderson.

But the Dunn County speed sign will only be there temporarily, he said.

Beverly Schauer, village trustee, suggested taking the “children at play” sign from Dunn Street and moving it to one of the side streets along Railroad Avenue.

The Colfax Village Board approved moving the Dunn Street “children at play” sign and also directed Bates to order additional signs if more were needed.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Shannon Steinke.

• Approved a request for “street use” from Michael and Jennifer Laska, 215 River Street, for October 25 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a neighborhood Halloween party for children ages four to 11, plus adults.

• Approved allowing the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group to proceed with refinishing the floor in the Colfax Municipal Building auditorium. CMBRG also plans to consult with someone about a solution for water problems in the basement of the building.

• Approved a contract with the Dunn County treasurer’s office for Dunn County to collect the first installment of real estate and property taxes for the Village of Colfax at a rate of $2.25 per tax bill.

• Approved an application from Jeffrey Young, N8040 970th Street, Colfax, to bow hunt within the village limits. A new state law went into effect in December of 2013 that prohibits municipalities from banning hunting with a bow and arrow or a crossbow within the community. Municipalities cannot limit hunting within the municipality’s limits as long as the person who wants to hunt has received permission to hunt from the landowner, Gunnufson said. Municipalities can, however, prohibit bow hunting in municipal parks or any other land owned by the municipality, he noted.

• Approved hiring Tim Swenson as the 30-hour per week EMT to replace Adam Glass, who has resigned.

• Accepted bids for updates to the Colfax Police Department in the amount of $1,100 from LBR Electric (Chris Fogarty); $1,742 for patching the drywall and painting from Richard Jenson; and $3,514 from Menomonie Flooring Centre. Police Chief Anderson said he had hoped the electrical could be done in the next couple of weeks, and then the painting and the floors can be completed after that.

• Approved a budget adjustment to move $9,000 from the village hall improvement account to the police department improvement account. The police department has $2,000 in this year’s budget for improvements. All together, after the budget adjustment, the police department will have $11,000 available for improvements. The bids approved by the village board amounted to $6,356. Police Chief Anderson said desks and furniture for the police department would most likely cost between $1,500 and $2,000. Several village board members mentioned that it has been many years since the police department had been painted or had new flooring installed.