With options somewhat limited, the Elgin City Council voted last week to replace two areas of neglected and compacted sand at Elgin City Park with recycled rubber crumbs.
In doing so, the council will be taking advantage of a grant which pays for one-half of the crumbs’ cost. Despite the grant monies, the decision was not an easy one for the council. City Tree Board member and Young ‘N Lively member Connie Dvorak passed out photos of the current state of the disrepair (edging and weeds) of the area and spoke briefly with the council concerning plusses and minuses of the options available with the recycled crumbs and sand being the only two they would seriously consider.
With the City of Petersburg recently adding the recycled rubber crumbs and the kid’s play area at Pope John/St. Boniface having it, Dvorak was able to “test” it out. “It is a real good cushion, I walked around in there (St. Boniface) and it does feel really cushiony,” Dvorak reported. “And there aren’t any weeds in it.” Miller read from a city’s insurance company report stating that the “current surfacing of sand around the playground equipment does not provide a cushion in the event of a fall. The zoning around the playground equipment should be provided with a loose-fill surfacing material such as sand, pea gravel, engineered wood fibers, shredded recycled rubber mulch, wood mulch or wood chips.” The report then referred them to review the options in the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s publication Public Playground Safety Handbook for guidance.
“I not here to say that sand is just absolutely a horrible thing, its not” concluded Dvorak. “It would be okay if it was deep enough and if weeds didn’t grow out of it. I know there are some concerns that people might have about the rubber - I’ve talked to a couple of people that liked it and then I’ve talked to a couple of people that are worried about it. None of us really know all that much about it (recycled rubber).” Elgin resident Janet Koinzan spoke up, saying that she had talked with the kids and “a lot said they like the sand, it feels good on their toes”.
As the council began to discuss their options, the question of maintenance of the sand seemed to become the deciding factor on which way the council would ultimately vote.
Council members agreed that should sand remain in those play areas, regular maintenance including tilling at least once a year and spraying for weeds would need to be implemented in addition to keeping the proper depth of the sand for safety reasons. They discussed hiring the sand maintenance out. Councilwoman Shirley Nissen said, “we keep overloading Donnie (Poulsen) and Randy (Henn). They’ve been working on water issues.” Councilman Kenny Jochum expressed his concern that children would put the rubber crumbs in their mouth. Dvorak did point out that the crumbs would be used in the two areas where older children play.
This past June, the city along with the Young ‘N Lively group built a fenced in play area for toddlers. That area (20’ by 20’ with a couple of toddler play structures) will remain filled with sand. Councilman Don Mackel said, “If we can’t get anybody to maintain the sand, then we might as well go with it (crumbs)”.
After one motion to purchase the recycled rubber crumbs, liner and edging failed (Mackel and Kittelson voting yes, Jochum no and Nissen abstaining), they continued discussion since the deficiencies pointed out by their insurance company had to be addressed.
After weighing the maintenance concerns and considering the grant monies available, the council entertained a second motion to purchase the crumbs, liner and edging. On this vote, the motion passed unanimously.
Sterling West from Gothenburg (the initial company who came to Elgin, measured the play areas and made recommendations concerning the crumbs) was awarded the job.
Months in the making, the City of Elgin took a huge step forward last week in the annexation of lots located in the southwest corner of Elgin. Council members looked over the final plat drawing provided to them. The plat for the Meis Addition was deemed correct and ready for action.
Ben Meis, representing the family’s LLC, explained that the four lots being annexed are located along South Mrytle street. Meis said the proposed sewer lines would route “to the north rather than the east because the drainage is better”. Somewhere north, they (Meis) would like to tap in with the sewer line.
“As soon as I get enough confirmed from interested parties, before I lay that much money out there. We’ll do it right prior to that, but I would like to have confirmation by at least two people before I put that big of an expenditure,” Meis said. He told the council that any open land north of these four lots would have to be annexed in later. Following brief discussion by council members, the first reading of the annexation ordinance (Ordinance 637) was held. Annexations are the one exception of when the three required readings of an ordinance can be waived. Therefore, two special meetings were held Friday and Monday (Sept. 12 & 15) mornings to complete the three readings and move ahead on the annexation.
Water Well Update
Mayor Mike Schmitt reported City Engineer John Zwingman sent the city an email informing them that Nebraska Health and Human Services (NHHS) and Nebraska Well Drillers approved the request from the city to help work on the west well.
For the complete story, see the print edition of The Elgin Review.
For Nebraska school districts, putting together a school budget can sometimes resemble the laws of supply and demand.
On Wednesday night, the District #18 Board of Education approved a new budget for the 2014-2015 school year. With a huge county valuation increase, the school district was likely to reduce the tax levy. They did just that, passing a budget with a total tax asking of $2,992,929.27 with a combined tax levy of just 48 cents, down by 13 cents from one year ago.
Superintendent Dan Polk said state aid to the school district declined by $110,000 from one year ago and the school had an allowable growth of $190,000 for 2014/15. “The general fund budget of expenditures operating fund is (just) one percent increase,” he said.
Public hearings on the proposed budget and tax levy were held prior to the start of the regular meeting. No district patrons appeared to speak at the hearings.
The regular meeting lasted just under 30 minutes. Despite the short meeting, several matters were presented to board members.
For the complete story, see the print edition of The Elgin Review
September 11, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
For Husker fans, Saturday night’s game against Fresno State University might be described as “The Late, Late Show” starring Ameer Abdullah.
Here in Elgin, fans will be able to watch the game under the stars at the third annual Elgin Ko-Ed Group (EKG) Tailgate.
The game, set to kickoff at 9:30 p.m. can be viewed on a giant 12’ x 16’ video screen. The EKG tailgate gathering will be held on CVA’s lot directly behind Dean’s Market.
The gate will open at 6 p.m. There will be a cash bar throughout the evening. A hamburger or BBQ meal is included with the admission price.
Admission is $10 for persons 13 and over, $5 for persons between the ages of 5 and 12.
Those under five years of age will be admitted free to the event.
During the evening, between 6:30 p.m. and sunset there will be an adult “Punt, Pass & Kick” competition.
September 11, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
For three hours Friday, patrons of the new Central Valley Ag were treated to a fine lunch.
The event, held at the CVA Lumber Yard in Elgin served as a formal “kickoff” following the merger of two cooperatives earlier this year — CVA and United Farmers Cooperative.
Patrons dined on BBQ pork and beef and visited with local CVA personnel, talking about how the new CVA will continue to provide quality service.
Location Manager Kenny Jochum said, “They (patrons) can continue to expect the same quality service from CVA personnel here in Elgin. Nothing’s changed,” he said.
One area Jochum said the new cooperative will continue to focus on is staying up to date on advancing technology to better meet their needs.
“With any new technology, we’re going to be in the driver’s seat,” he said.
Back in July, the board of directors for CVA and UFC ratified votes cast by their respective member-owners approving the merger which became effective Sept. 1.
The new CVA Cooperative will consist of 66 locations across much of eastern Nebraska and parts of Northern Kansas employing over 800 persons. The cooperative offers a wide range of products, services, information and innovation through agronomy, energy, feed and grain divisions.
CVA continues to expand to meet the needs of its patrons. Having expanded grain storage in Elgin several years ago, CVA in Petersburg is nearing completion on expansion of grain storage, adding a 750,000 bushel storage facility and leg to be completed in time for the fall harvest this year.
Last fall, the grain and agronomy complex at Royal was completed and put into operation.
Soon, the 81-20 site near Randolph will be completed. The rail pass is almost complete and scales have been installed. for an October 2014 starting date.
As a result of the merger, the new CVA has 50 grain locations located throughout northeast Nebraska, central Nebraska and north central Kansas providing the means to merchandise into many different markets.