Elk Mound hears proposal for Eagle Scout project, update on one in progress

By Cara L. Dempski

ELK MOUND — The Village of Elk Mound could soon see a second community improvement project thanks to the local Boy Scout troop.

Tyler Bauer, a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 71 in Elk Mound, would like to install a cement pad and shelter near the corner of Juniper Avenue and Menomonie Street, just east of the Elk Mound Village Hall. The labor and materials for the structure would be provided by his troop as part of his community service project to become an Eagle Scout.

“I’ve been in Elk Mound my whole life, and during the summer I noticed that right outside the village hall, there is a farmer’s market. They don’t usually have anything to stand under,” Bauer explained. “I am proposing to make a 14 foot, by 30 foot pavilion for them to stand under for shelter and to sell what they want.”

Bauer also said the structure could be used as a picnic spot for locals and people passing by. 

Board president Tom Gilbert said he had no problem with the proposed project, as long as there were no concerns regarding the property’s use. The land is owned by the village, and the structure would belong to the village upon completion.

Public Works Director Mark Levra offered to work with Bauer and his troop leader to generate a building plan that would fit in with any land use requirements or setbacks for the highway, street, and railroad tracks bordering the northern section of the property.

The full board seemed to support the project, and asked Bauer to return to an April meeting to give the board a better idea of costs and project logistics.

Life Scout Bowdrie Noller was also present at the meeting to provide a progress report on his project, which was proposed in 2016. He has, to date, raised $2,000 and solicited the donation of two steel beams worth nearly $500, for his project to move the scoreboard at the Lion’s Park so it is visible for all baseball and softball fans. He told the board the project needs approximately $4,000 more for completion.

Noller has received some recent donations, including a $1,000 donation promised by the Eau Claire Babe Ruth league, that will help cut down costs. B and B Electric of Eau Claire will provide Noller and his workers use of a utility line truck, wire and conduit to connect the new scoreboard to power, and the  new board itself is reserved for $3,000, which is a $2,500 discount from full price.

Levra informed Noller a $500 check from an unspecified donor had arrived at the village hall. Noller spoke with clerk Pat Hahn regarding transferring the money to the troop for use with his project.

The board moved on to other topics after hearing from both scouts. Terry Stamm reported the Plan Commission will meet April 5 at 6 p.m. to discuss, and vote on, an Extra-territorial Certified Survey Map.

Police chief Travis Hakes provided a report of monthly police activity in the village, and indicated he has been contacted by the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office for several Elk Mound incidents in late February and early March. The report he provided did not indicate any serious incidents in the village in the past six weeks, despite one recent police response from Dunn County, Eau Claire County, and the village of Elk Mound.

Trustee Steve Abraham followed up Hakes’ report by stating he spoke with the owner of the Junction, which sits on the northwest corner of the County Highway H and U.S. Highway 12 intersection. He indicated owner Kim Reese had again expressed her concerns about the visibility of the stop signs at the intersection.

“It was mentioned to me by Kim about the stop sign for the northbound lane of H at 12,” Abraham began. “I checked it, the stop sign is blocked by a utility pole until you’re about 75 or 100 feet away from it.”

Abraham said the sign is either partially or fully blocked, depending on distance. He noted there is a “stop ahead” sign several hundred feet prior to the intersection, but there is limited visibility of the sign until only about 100 feet away. 

Chief Hakes informed Abraham, as discussed at a prior meeting, the intersection is the county’s responsibility, and any concerns would need to be addressed at a county level. Abraham said he will take his concerns to the state, since the county is deferring to them because they are not able to make changes without risk of losing state funding.

“I’m looking to bypass the county where necessary and go straight to the state,” Abraham finished. 

Gilbert stated the village does not want to bypass any steps in its relationship with the county, unless that is where the process leads the board, indicating his support for maintaining communication with the county and the chain of command.

The village also approved a new village attorney policy, and a new closed session policy. The village board will now be able to seek advice on municipal law from either Bakke Norman or Schofield, Parent, Mayer and Huff. Village department heads can contact the attorneys as necessary, but individual board members must have the board’s approval for any contact with either firm.

The closed session policy clarified the instances closed sessions can be held and the notification process for the subjects of closed sessions. It also noted that a meeting can be adjourned from the closed session, as state statute indicates a meeting cannot be reopened for 12 hours after closure.

In other business, the board:

• Heard reports from the Elk Mound Fire Board, Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling, and the Colfax Rescue Squad.

• Learned the 2016 Audit will be presented at the April 5 regular board meeting.