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City hears proposal to replace warning sirens

GLENWOOD CITY — Replacing and upgrading the city’s aging outdoor warning sirens was among the items the Glenwood City common council pondered at its regular monthly meeting held November 13.

With one of its two warning sirens currently inoperable, the City council entertained a proposal from Federal Signal Corporation.

Police Chief Bob Darwin along with Federal Signal Corp representative Dan Gossman made the presentation to the full Council Monday evening.

According to Darwin, the city has been looking into the issue after experiencing several issues with the current warning siren that is located adjacent to the old City well house near the former Glenwood City Ford building (now home of Doornink Motors/Doornink Fabrication).

“There has been a lot of trouble with the warning siren,” said Darwin of the one at the old well house.

Gossman added that when a repairman looked at that siren, a high-pitched noise could be heard coming from its transformer which was quite hot to the touch.

Gossman said the technician was concerned that a fire could start so the entire siren was shut down for safety reasons.

The City’s other siren is located at the current fire hall and despite its 70-plus year age still works well, sounding at noon and 6 p.m. each day as well as during monthly emergency tests.

Darwin went through a couple of sound plan maps that Federal Signal had prepared for the City which showed the best option would be to retain a two-siren system with locations at the fire hall and near the community center.

The proposal called for a pair high decibel, low-frequency, rotating outdoor warning sirens that would supply a minimum of 70 decibels, a FEMA standard, to the majority of Glenwood City’s citizens including the mobile trailer park on the northwest side of the City.

Under the plan, a new 128-decibel, 508 Federal Signal siren with radio control could be placed a the fire hall with a 126-decibel Equinox siren near the community center.

Both sirens would rotate 360 degrees and would need to be placed on a class 2 wooden pole at heights between 50 to 55 feet. The current sirens are only about 25-30 feet above the ground.

Darwin and Gossman noted that the center could also choose to replace just the one siren located at the old well house and leave the old fire hall siren in operation.

The cost for two new sirens as stated previously would cost approximately $20,600 and would not include the installation which could run about $5,200 per siren.

The sirens would be radio controlled, as is the current one at the fire hall, so that the St. Croix County 9-1-1 Dispatch Center in Hudson could remotely activate a warning in cases of severe weather. 

The council expressed interest in possibly locating one of the new sirens at Well #4 which is currently under construction at Third Street and Walnut Ridge Drive.

“That’s why we are discussing this now,” said Mayor John Larson. “While the well is under construction should the council chose that as a site for a siren.”

After more discussion, the council directed Kevin Oium of Cedar Corp to look into the possibility of adding a conduit into the new well house that could accommodate the electrical and communications needs of a new siren.

No action however was taken on the sirens themselves.

No Parking

Mike Barstad, owner of Mike’s Auto Body of Glenwood City, LLC located at 111 Misty Court, appeared before the council Monday evening to request that his employees be allowed to park their tow trucks on city streets during the winter months in order to facilitate response times when called out to accidents.

City ordinances currently does not allow any vehicle to be parked on city streets during the winter months.

Barstad was requesting a possible change in the ordinance wording that would allow for parking vehicles over 12,000 pounds or 16 feet and longer to park on city streets.

Mayor Larson opened the discussion stating that there had been a lot of concern about parking on Maple Street during the council’s October 30 committee meeting.

City attorney Autumn Lindquist pointed out that changing the ordinance to allow for the tow truck parking “Would open it (street parking) up to anyone  that wanted to park on any city street.”

Council member Pete Gaustad had concerns saying, “We already turned down someone that wanted to park semis on the street. I also have a safety issue as they are wider than the average truck.”

Council person Ben DeGross expressed concerns about the city’s ability to plow snow with the trucks in the streets but Barstad indicated that prior to and during a snow emergency, the trucks would not be parked on city streets.

After further discussions on the matter, Mayor Larson called for a motion to change the ordinance. After the Mayor asked two more times, no motion was forthcoming from any of the five council members present (Ken Peterson  was absent) and the issue died.    

Tennis Courts

Council person Pete Gaustad gave the council a brief report on Hinman and the summer rec program.

The City recently sent out a survey, which was included in the utility bills,  about the tennis courts at Hinman Park.

The survey asked residents three questions: 1. How often do you use the tennis courts at Hinman Park?, 2. Would you use the court more if they were refurbished?, and 3. How much money is reasonable for the City to spend refurbishing the courts?.

Gaustad noted that the received 173 responses. 

In response to the first question, an overwhelming majority, 164 respondents, stated that they never used the courts with just eight stating they used them once a month or less and only one replied that they used it two or three times per month.

A similar response pattern held when asked if the courts were refurbished would people be more apt to use them. 103 answered definitely not, 54 said probably not and just 16 answered either probably would or definitely would.

When questioned on how much to spend on a possible refurbishment program for the tennis court, 104 responded with $5,000 or less with 69 of those marking less than $1,000. Five marked $10,000 to $20,000 while only two said over $20,000 should be spent to repair the courts. 47 gave no response.

The council took no action on the survey or possible repairs.

In other business:

• The council unanimously approved Police Chief Robert Darwin’s request to attend the 2018 Wisconsin Police Leadership Foundation Mid-Winter Training Conference to be held February 11-14 at the Kalahari Resort and Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells.

• Monthly police logs showed that the department worked 39 cases in the month of October which included citations, arrests, traffic incidents and domestics. A total of 1,972 miles were put on the city’s two squads during the month’s patrol.

• Approved an operator’s license for Pamela J. Gates.

• Approved a final pay request  of $1,257.65 from Albrightson Excavating for renovation work at Hinman Park.

• Approved a payment of $9,0002.32 to Mineral Service Plus for completed work on the city new municipal well #4 which is currently under construction.

• Approved a 1-year lease renewal for the St. Croix County Department of Health and Social Service to operate the senior nutritional program at the Glenwood City Community Center. The program operates Mondays-Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the community center. The lease will run January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018

• Will use $16,398.75 in Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) funds to rebuild/repave approximately 320 feet of 4th Street between Elm and Walnut Streets next summer. Oium of Cedar Corp told the council that the sunset clause for the funds is June 30, 2019 which means the project would have to be completed in 2018.

• The council convened into close session to discuss employee evaluations, wages and benefits. According to Mayor Larson, when the council reconvened into open session, no actions were taken.