Blaise Sass was sworn in as the new Chief of Police at the August 5 Preston City Council meeting.
Sass has most recently served as a sergeant under retiring Chief Matt Schultz. August 5 was Schultz’s last day in office. After the city council meeting Schultz radioed in his official final sign off, bringing a long career in law enforcement to an end. Schultz made a farewell statement to the city council and staff and thanked everyone.
Numerous family members and friends attended the swearing-in ceremony. Sass thanked Schultz for the many years they have served together.
City Administrator Joe Hoffman reviewed the history of the state trail project which has been in the works for around 25-30 years. Currently, they are working to obtain funding for the Preston/Carimona section of the trail. Approximately one mile and two bridges of this portion of the trail out of Preston has been constructed (roughly costing $950,000).
Seven additional bridges will need to be constructed on the additional six miles to Carimona. A trailhead is planned at Carimona. Bills have been sponsored in each of the last three legislative sessions. Purchases of land for this portion of the trail were completed in 2002. A master plan was completed in 2003. It is a legislatively authorized state trail.
Craig Blommer, retired area supervisor for the DNR, felt this would be the most scenic section of the Blufflands Trail System. The development of this portion of the trail is expected to cost over $5 million.
Hoffman said community involvement is needed to step up efforts to obtain funding from the legislature for this section. An active trail committee is needed along with funding for promotional activities. Funding may be needed to do engineering for the project. Chuck Aug insisted city involvement is needed. The state has a huge investment in the trail already. Other trails have been funded. Hoffman said the state will spend money somewhere; why not here?
The trail will continue for 2.7 miles on roads from the Carimona Trailhead to Forestville State Park.
The city currently owns the segment of the trail within the city. Hoffman acknowledged it needs some repair.
Other business in brief
•Jim Bakken, Public Works, reviewed proposed 2019 sidewalk replacements. Planned areas for the concrete work are located in front of the fire hall. Bakken explained they plan to get rid of three grassy areas and replace them with concrete. Snow is scraped onto these areas. Legends Concrete, Inc. provided a bid to do the work at a total cost of $8,925. This is within the amount budgeted for concrete work. The repairs and replacements were approved as proposed.
•Andy Bunge reported that the housing project has been completed on North St. He pointed out, that with the purchase of a run down property that is not worth repairing followed by the construction of new housing, there is a very significant economic gain for each of the taxing districts.
•The second city council meeting in August will be held on Friday, August 23 at 12:15 p.m.