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GLENWOOD CITY—The City Council approved a recommendation from the Planning Commission to demolish the old school building along East Oak and Third Street at their meeting Monday evening, October 19th.
The school district moved out of that building almost thirty years ago and it has had several owners over that time. Recently, the city was concerned about the lack of repair of the structure and that St. Croix County had a tax lien against the property of approximately $25,000.
The city made a proposal to the county that they would buy the property from the current owners, if the county would forgive the back taxes. That agreement was made between the city and the county.
Over the last year or so the city had an engineering study done on the building and spent $134,775 for asbestos and hazardous material removal.
At Monday night’s meeting the council approved the plan commission’s recommendation to demolish the building and moved ahead with the next step to bid out the job of demolition. But, City Attorney Autumn Lindquist informed the council that the county has not yet forgiven the past due property taxes.
Council member Rob Unruh noted that the interior of the structure is in such bad shape it would cost more money to repair it than it is worth. Other members of the council hoped that after the structure is removed that the city would have some land to sell for home construction.
Council hears reports
During their regular meeting, the City council heard reports from various city department heads including a report from the City’s Library Director, Katie Schneider who informed the council that the Book Club meeting of November 19th will be at the Community Center. The club had been meeting at the Apple Orchard Barn, but with cold weather it will be moved, as will the fall painting class, which is this Wednesday at the Community Center.
She also noted that Knox’s farm donated pumpkins for the pumpkin contest, and the pumpkins were at the front of the Library and one morning she came to the Library and about 30 pumpkins were missing. The youngsters that helped walk away with the pumpkins walked them back to the library.
She talked about the cost of the shelving for the library and she informed the Council members that some libraries are closing their doors and going to curbside delivery, but she indicated that the library decided to keep their doors open. “We can do this safely,” she said.
Fire Chief Greg Holden appeared before the council and spoke about the recent house burning that the department did for fire fighting training. “We took all the necessary steps to allow us to burn the house for training,” he told the council. The house was located along Highway 170 just east of the fire station.
Holden also noted that the department received a $3,000 grant, which will be used to purchase 14 new fire helmets that will bring the department into current regulations. He noted that each helmet cost $225. The department also received a fifty-fifty grant from the DNR in the amount of $7,500 that will be used to purchase fire-fighting foam, turn out gear and four portable radios.
Holden also noted that the department has a couple more new members and that the department should be able to have seven or eight members on call for day time fires. Like most volunteer departments, trying to provide a full force of firefighters has been difficult during daytime hours because members work out of town.
The council heard from Anna Mewis, who stated she lives on Syme Avenue and noted that there’s “a lot of speeding and weight restriction violations on Syme Avenue.” She continued, “A lot of big trucks are using the street.”
The council learned that there are signs posted at each end of Syme Avenue that restrict truck traffic.
Sean Lybert appeared before the council questing about deer hunting on city property. He lives on Syme Avenue just north of County G and he informed the council that in the past year that he has lived there, four deer have been struck by cars near his home. He is requesting to allow bow and arrow hunting on city-owned land near his home. Because that topic was not an agenda item, Mayor John Larson asked if he could address the issue at the November council meeting.
Police Chief Robert Darwin presented the council with some cost figures on employing another full-time police office or funding a part-time officer. He noted that trying to employ a part-time officer is challenging because after a sort period of time they find full-time employment with another community. He also noted that the pool of police office candidates is very small. The council took no action on the hiring of a third officer, but will be studying the figures and will make a determination at a later date.
In his report to the council, Public Works Director David Caress said that they replaced 20 American flags on the Main Street light poles and that 40 more will be needed next spring. He noted that they take down the flags after Veterans Day. He also noted that sidewalk work was done at Oak and Second Street and that everything is working at the lagoon. He did inform the council about problems with one of the city’s dump trucks.
As far as the annual Trick or Treating, both the police department and the mayor indicated that it should go on as usual. “Let the people decide if they want to go trick-or-treating,” Mayor Larson stated. They can decide if they want to have candy and leave their lights on, or not give candy and leave their lights off, the Mayor noted.
Discusses land purchase for new city hall
During the council meeting, the Council members’ attention was focused on the purchase of some 25 feet of land that adjoins the city-owned community center property. Those 25 feet are needed to allow the city to construct a new city hall, library, community center and police station.
Tyler Doornink currently owns the land and Mayor John Larson explained what the proposal is, and that the city would buy the 25 feet for $1,250 a foot and deed the former city well house and Water Street to him. The old well house is located just behind Doornink’s property, with Doornink allowing an easement allowing access to the rear of the Boondocks tavern.
The City abandoned the well house recently in favor of a new well house near the city’s water town along Third Street.
And, finally the City Clerk/Treasurer presented the council with the proposed budget for next year and they set a public hearing for Thursday, November 12 at 7 p.m. to allow public input on the proposed budget.