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Colfax moves forward with beer garden fence, DPW ceiling and spreading garden

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Construction is expected to begin soon on the beer garden fence at the Colfax Fairgrounds, on repairing the ceiling in the Department of Public Works building and on establishing the spreading garden at Evergreen Cemetery.

The cost of building a new fence around the beer garden and refreshment stand (beer tent) at the fairgrounds is about $4,500, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the Colfax Village Board’s September 24 meeting.

When the new refreshment building was constructed in the summer of 2014 after the original building collapsed under the weight of heavy, wet snow in February, a new fence constructed out of posts and hog panels was built around the north side of the building.

The chain link fence, which originally went all the way around the building and the beer garden, was donated in July of 1991 by Northern States Power.

According to the July 18, 1991 Colfax Messenger, “Northern States Power Company plans to donate 400 feet of chain link fence and posts for the Colfax Fairgrounds. The fence comes from an NSP substation near Uniroyal in Eau Claire.”

Margaret Burcham, village trustee, wondered about the cost of the new fence that was installed when the new refreshment stand was built.

The fence was part of constructing the building, so the cost for the fence was not separated out, Niggemann said.

Gary Stene, village president, reminded the village board they had agreed previously to pay for the new fence from the unassigned general fund balance.

Replacing the old chain link fence is one of the projects the village plans to complete ahead of the Colfax Free Fair’s 100th anniversary next summer.

“The steel prices are higher from the tariffs,” noted Rand Bates, director of public works.

“The prices are all higher than expected,” he said, referring to estimates received for the beer garden fence, the gazebo roof in Tower Park and the roof on Well House No. 1

U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Depending on how much steel or aluminum is in question, the increase in the cost could end up being hundreds of dollars.

The Village of Colfax has implemented a policy that whenever a shingled roof on a public building must be replaced, steel will be used instead of shingles since steel is more durable.

Carey Davis, village trustee, asked about getting bids for the beer garden fence or at least obtaining more than one estimate.

The cut-off point for requiring bids on village construction contracts or purchases is $5,000.

Contractors are so busy now this time of year that it is difficult to get even one estimate, Bates said.

A motion to move forward with replacing the rest of the fence around the beer garden was approved on a vote of six “yes” to one “no.”

Davis voted “no” on the motion.

Those voting in favor of the motion were Gary Stene and trustees Mark Halpin, David Wolff, Annie Jensen, Margaret Burcham and Keith Burcham.

DPW ceiling

The estimated cost for fixing the ceiling in the DPW building is $8,800.

At some point in the past, sections of the steel ceiling were nailed into the wooden two-by-fours rather than screwed into the wood, Bates said.

Right now, there is a foot-and-a-half “dip” in the middle of the ceiling, he said.

The nails are particularly hard on the ceiling because the building shifts every time the wind blows or a train goes by, Bates said.

The ceiling heater will have to be taken down and reinstalled after the ceiling is repaired. The steel will be removed from the ceiling and reinstalled, and the broken two-by-fours will be replaced and others will be refastened, he said.

Because the ceiling repair is over $5,000, the project will have to be advertised for bids, but the repair cannot be put off and it was not something that had been planned, Stene said.

“It needs to be done,” he said.

Keith Burcham and Margaret Burcham wondered if there was money elsewhere in the village budget that could be transferred for the ceiling repair rather than taking the money out of the unassigned general fund balance.

Money is set aside in several categories, such as $10,000 for a generator, $6,000 for a park mower, $19,000 for playground equipment and $11,000 for cemetery equipment, Niggemann said.

Money can be transferred out of those categories, but once the money is transferred, then the money is not available when those items need to be replaced, she said.

The other option, Niggemann said, would be a loan.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a motion to advertise for bids to repair the DPW ceiling and to pay for the repair out of the unassigned general fund balance.

The DPW ceiling will be repaired this winter. At the moment, with the end of the construction season coming closer, it is difficult to find someone who would want to bid on the project now, Bates said.

Spreading garden

A total of $2,300 was allocated in this year’s budget for the spreading garden at Evergreen Cemetery, Niggemann told the village board.

The spreading garden for cremains will cover an area thirty-five feet by forty-five feet.

Some Skid-steer work will need to be done on the spreading garden, and in response to a question from Niggemann, Bates said the excavation would be completed this fall.

The spreading garden will include brick pavers and a path through the garden.

The cost $500 for shrubs and plants and the cost ranging from $400 to $800 for benches is not included in the total cost.

Davis said once the project “is rolling,” he was hoping people would be willing to donate money toward the cost of the shrubs and plants and the benches.

The cost for materials for the cemetery fence built through Colfax Lutheran for the “God’s Work. Our hands.” project was $926, Bates noted.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved moving forward with the spreading garden.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved a training request for Ryan Bauer for basic wastewater certification from October 29 to November 2. Bauer is the new Department of Public Works employee hired to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Tim Rundle.

• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Nichole Gotlibson (Kyle’s Market) from September 24 to June 30, 2019.

• Scheduled the first meeting for developing the 2019 budget for October 1 at 6 p.m. 

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