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Beer garden at Colfax Fairgrounds to get new bleachers

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Out with the old — in with the new.

New aluminum bleachers, that is.

The Colfax Village Board approved moving forward with purchasing new aluminum bleachers for the beer garden at the Colfax Fairgrounds during the September 10 meeting.

Rand Bates, director of public works, had gone on record at a previous meeting saying the old wooden bleachers are heavy and difficult to move, and each time they are moved, being moved is hard on them.

The Colfax Village Board’s parks committee recommended buying new bleachers for the beer garden earlier this summer.

The new bleachers will be one of the preparations for the celebration of the Colfax Free Fair’s 100th anniversary next summer.

Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, said she has checked on the price of aluminum bleachers three years in a row, and each year the cost has increased.

The cost of the bleachers last year was $7,300, and the cost this year is $8,300 for 21-foot sections of three-tiered bleachers, Niggemann reported.

The aluminum bleachers are a “tip and roll” style so they can be moved easily, she noted.

The fire department may, possibly, be interested in contributing to the bleachers as well, Bates said.

The bleachers are used during the Colfax Firefighters’ Ball during the pedal tractor pull and during the dance in the evening.

Margaret Burcham, village trustee, said she had just been looking at the existing wooden bleachers on Saturday when contemplating the fairgrounds as the location for a wedding reception.

“They are pretty rough,” she said.

The village board has agreed to pay for the new aluminum bleachers out of the contingency fund.

“We should do it quickly before there’s another 25 percent tariff on aluminum,” said Keith Burcham, village trustee.


The only building left at the Colfax Fairgrounds that still needs to be updated is the silver pavilion building next to the arts and crafts building (also known as the “commercial building”).

While the other buildings at the fairgrounds are maintained by other entities, such as the FFA Alumni,  and Holden Lutheran Church, the pavilion/commercial building and the refreshment stand/beer garden are maintained by the village.

The options are to put new steel on the roof of the pavilion building and paint the walls to match the other buildings at the fairgrounds or to replace both the walls and the roof, Niggemann said.

The cost estimate for the roof of the building is $5,500 for materials and $3,500 for the labor.

The cost estimate for the walls of the building is $3,200 for materials and $3,500 for the labor.

The total cost estimate for replacing the walls and roof is $15,700.

The total cost estimate for only replacing the roof is $9,000.

If the roof and the walls are both replaced at the same time, the cost might be less, Niggemann said.

The village does have the offer of a volunteer to paint the building, she noted.

“Do we need to replace the walls?” Margaret Burcham asked.

“Not really. The roof is bad, though,” Bates replied.

Beer garden fence

The parks committee and the village board also have previously discussed replacing the remainder of the fence around the beer garden to match the hog panel fence around the north side of the refreshment building.

The hog panel fence was built when the refreshment stand (also known as the beer tent) was rebuilt after it collapsed under the weight of heavy, wet snow in February of 2014.

Niggemann said she and Bates had both contacted the builder several times who constructed the hog panel fence but have not yet received a call back.

The village  could advertise for bids next March or April, and then construction on the fence could be done in the spring, she said.

The village board also would like to have the beer garden fence completed by the 100th anniversary of the Colfax Free Fair.


In addition, the parks committee and the village board have discussed repairs to the stone pillars at the entrance to the fairgrounds and repairs to the brick pillars at the entrance of Evergreen Cemetery.

The village board packet included information that the village has received an estimate for the cemetery and the fairgrounds pillars.

The estimate for the fairgrounds pillars is $500 to tuck point the bad joints in the columns.

The pillars for the cemetery and the fairgrounds have been put “on hold” for now, Niggemann said.


The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a motion to purchase new aluminum bleachers for the beer garden at the fairgrounds and to replace the roof on the pavilion/commercial building.

The cost of the bleachers was $8,399 from The Park Catalog out of Boca Raton, Florida.

With shipping from Florida, the cost of each section of bleachers would be about $1,400. The total cost of shipping from Florida is $1,626.

Belson Outdoors out of Naperville, Illinois, listed a cost of $10,343 for the bleachers, which included a shipping cost of $1,265.

The Colfax Village Board also unanimously approved painting the walls of the pavilion/commercial building.

Village Trustees Anne Jenson and Carey Davis were absent from the meeting.

Voting in favor of the motions were Village President Gary Stene and Village Trustees Mark Halpin, David Wolff, Keith Burcham and Margaret Burcham.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved a facilities rental request and waived the fee for the Colfax Fairgrounds for the Colfax High  School Homecoming bonfire September 11.

• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Marisa Prince (A Little Slice of Italy) from September 10 to June 30, 2019.

• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Marian Daniel (A Little Slice of Italy) from September 10 to June 30, 2019.

• Approved a chicken license for Pamela Moen, 705 University Avenue, for three chickens until June 30, 2019.

• Approved a sponsor request for the Zor Tin Lizzies for the 2018 Colfax Firefighters’ Ball Parade in the amount of $50.

• Learned that Rand Bates is seeking estimates on replacing the roof on the gazebo in Tower Park and Well House No. 1 and will bring the information to the village board. The gazebo and the well house roofs will be put in the budget for 2019 with construction planned for next spring, Niggemann said.

• Learned the ceiling in the Department of Public Works building also needs repair and that Niggemann and Bates are waiting to receive additional information on cost estimates.

• Approved a motion to obtain bids for paving Railroad Avenue from Main Street to Pine Street.

• Learned the village has received ten applications for the public works position vacated by the resignation of Tim Rundle. Interviews were expected to be conducted on September 17. Applications were due September 10 at 10 a.m. At a joint meeting of the village board and personnel committee September 6, the village board agreed unanimously to set a pay scale of $16 to $19 per hour for Operator 1. Four certifications are required within two years of employment, and a fifty-cent per hour raise may be included after each certificate is completed with a maximum base of $19. The starting pay for an Operator 2 is $20 per hour. At six months and one year, there is a potential for a performance-based pay increase. If the Operator 2 is an internal transfer from Operator 1, a $1 per hour pay increase would occur.

• Learned the water tower inspection has been completed. The dive team told Bates the tower looked very good. Written reports are expected in about a month.

Police officer

The minutes for the joint village board and personnel committee meeting September 6 included in the village board packet for the September 10 meeting reported the village board had unanimously agreed to offer the full-time police officer position vacated by the resignation of Josh Shipman to Kurt Devroy. 

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