Council OKs pool donationThe Mitchell City Council voted unanimously Monday evening at City Hall to contribute 33.3 percent of the costs to operate the Mitchell Middle School indoor pool next school year, up to a maximum of $30,000 and including the $11,000 the council already is scheduled to contribute.
By: Seth Tupper, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell City Council voted unanimously Monday evening at City Hall to contribute 33.3 percent of the costs to operate the Mitchell Middle School indoor pool next school year, up to a maximum of $30,000 and including the $11,000 the council already is scheduled to contribute.
Swimming enthusiasts have been scrambling to save the pool during the past few weeks following an announcement by school officials that they plan to close it as a costcutting measure. Whether the pool will be kept open remains to be decided by the Mitchell Board of Education, which will meet Thursday.
Lori Bork, of the Mitchell Aquatic Club board, asked the council Monday evening for $45,000. That’s half of the roughly $90,000 that the school district has estimated it will cost to operate the pool next school year. Council members discussed the request for about a half-hour before deciding to contribute up to $30,000.
Councilman Scott Houwman and some others questioned the wisdom of contributing money to a pool that’s likely to close sometime soon, if not next year. The money might be better used, he said, to help incorporate a new indoor pool into a proposed arena and wellness center project being studied by the City Council and the local college and hospital.
Houwman said “$90,000 would go a long way to help build a new pool.”
Council President Jeff Smith encouraged his fellow council members to consider the impact on the 81-member aquatic club if the indoor pool closes and the club has no suitable indoor practice facility for one or more years.
He said the club and its association, which is supported by a group of parents, might dwindle to the point that there would be insufficient support for a new pool in an arena and wellness center facility.
“If we don’t have these people out there in the end,” Smith said, “I don’t know that it’s worthwhile to even be looking at a brand-new pool.”
When Bork tossed out her $45,000 request, she said she is “confident” the aquatic club can raise an additional $45,000. When Councilman Travis Carpenter asked how much the club has raised so far, Bork did not state an amount but reiterated her confidence that $45,000 could be raised.
The aquatic club’s $45,000 contribution and the city’s maximum $30,000 contribution adds up to $75,000, which is $15,000 short of the amount that the school has estimated it needs to keep the pool open next year. Councilman Dan Allen suggested where the additional money should come from.
“The school ought to kick something in,” he said.
Councilman Allen Lepke said the City Council’s pledge will at least “put pressure” on everybody involved to take action.
During the discussion that led up to the council vote, Bork presented information and answered numerous questions pertaining to the indoor pool at the Mitchell Recreation Center. That pool, she said, is too small to function well as a practice facility for the aquatic club.
The club also has explored other options for their practices, Bork said, including transporting team members to pools at other cities or buying a temporary pool that could be built somewhere in Mitchell and then disassembled and sold later. The aquatic club would prefer keeping the middle school pool open to either of those options, she said.
In other business Monday evening, council members:
• Met as the Traffic Commission and took no action on quotes for flashing lights at the future location of an Ash and Burr crosswalk, opting to go with signage and painting for now; approved a request from Holy Family Catholic Church to paint portions of curbs yellow near its parking lot entrance; approved a request from the Heart & Sole Cancer Walk Committee to close some streets June 19 for the Cancer Walk; approved a request from the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Committee for a parade permit for July 18; approved a request from the Tour de Corn Committee to block off the City Hall parking lot and the adjacent street/block Aug. 29; approved a request from Scott Morgan that 2100 Highland Way be closed in front of Blarney’s between Blarney’s and the Comfort Inn for a Blarney’s 3- on-3 Post High School Tournament July 18; approved a request from the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village to close Indian Village Road from 23rd Avenue to the public boat ramp July 3; and approved a request to extend the 25 mph speed zone two blocks farther east on East First Avenue to Mattie Street.
• Approved, during the Public Health and Safety Committee meeting, a fireworks permit for the Heart & Sole Cancer Walk on June 19.
• Approved the application of Ray Koth for a variance to construct an addition at 1020 W. Third Ave. and the application of Sarah Mendenhall for a conditional use permit to operate a daycare in her home at 409 S. Montana.
• Approved, with numerous conditions and over the objections of a neighbor who cited concerns about his wife’s environmental illnesses, the application of Collette Stadlman (owner) and Reggie Siegel (applicant) for a conditional use permit to operate a small motorcycle business at 240 E. 54th Ave.
• Approved the application of Tom and Mary Day for a variance to construct a house/garage located south of 1532 Lakeview Lane; the application of Mike Hale for a variance to construct a garage at 621 S. Burns St.; and the application of Mary Jepsen for a variance to construct a garage at 1100 E. Seventh Ave.
• Set, sitting as the Board of Adjustment, June 1 as the date for a hearing on the application of Jose Rincones for a variance to construct a garage at 509 E. 13th Ave.
• Heard and approved verbal reports from the Traffic Commission and the Public Health and Safety Committee.
• Approved written reports from 10 city departments and boards.
• Tabled the application to transfer an alcoholic beverage license from RCJ Inc. to Ruth Reif, doing business as Easy Come, Easy Go, at 316 W. Fifth Ave., after it was revealed by Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg that one of the shareholders of the corporation seeking the transfer has a felony burglary conviction on his record that precludes the city from approving the transfer.
• Awarded a bid of $89,909 from Paulson Sheet Metal, plus design fees of $2,150, for the installation of a dehumidifier system designed to cut down on steel-beam rusting and other problems associated with humidity in the Mitchell Activities Center ice arena.
• Awarded a bid of $87,127 from Mueller Lumber to construct a police shooting range, contingent upon the receipt of a U.S. Department of Justice grant to cover $40,000 worth of the project.
• Tabled the awarding of a bid for a base-course and sidewalk project at the Pepsi Soccer Complex, because no bids were received.
• Awarded a bid of $13,078.96 from ProBuild for fencing that will be installed by city workers at the Pepsi Soccer Complex.
• Declared as surplus 600 red, padded folding chairs purchased in 1965, with Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling reporting that the new chairs are from the same company as the old ones and are expected to have a similar lifespan.
• Approved a resolution to purchase the private sewer and water system at Mitchell Technical Institute south of Interstate 90 for $224,000, pursuant to a list of six terms and conditions and a proposed five-year payback (see related story).
• Adopted a plat of Lot 1 of Bussmus Farms Addition.
• Adopted an ordinance that will amend the zoning code to include existing entities that are within the city’s one-mile zoning jurisdiction on a list of those grandfathered-in by the provisions of an ordinance regulating adultoriented businesses.
• Set June 1 as the date for a hearing on an application to transfer an alcoholic beverage license from GMK-LLC to Freedom Valu Centers Inc., doing business as Goldmine, located at 512 S. Sanborn Blvd.; and a hearing on applications for the renewal of malt-beverage licenses.
• Set June 24 as the date to receive and consider bids for the Pleasant Hills Steel Tax Increment Financing District street and utilities improvements project.
• Approved an engineeringservices agreement with SPN & Associates for the utilities portion of a Lawler Street improvement project and also approved an amendment to an agreement with SPN to include mandated sidewalk and ramp work in a previously approved agreement for Minnesota Street improvements.
• Approved a list of workers for the June 2 city-school election.
• Approved requests to conduct raffles from Pheasants Forever/Pheasant Country and Trinity Lutheran Church.
• Approved the paying of estimates and bills.
• Conducted a closed, “executive” session for what Mayor Lou Sebert described as something that “has to do with land deals” and for which City Attorney Randy Stiles said he expected no action to be taken.