At their May 8 meeting, the Houston City Council accepted a proposed donation of benches for the Trailhead Park. Ron Evenson presented the proposal to install a concrete pad near the bandshell which would be long enough to hold four benches with spacing. The pad would make mowing easier. The benches will be similar to the ones near the basketball courts.
John Langheinrich has applied for a grant for two apple trees for the natural playground/campground area from Kevin Lindh. Honeycrisp and Liberty apple trees will be used for cross pollination success. The trees will replace trees lost due to last summer’s storm. Trees, mulch, and planting labor will be covered by the grant. Location of the trees is planned to be close enough to the playground for visitors to pick an apple to enjoy.
The city will once again be donating the use of the bandshell as an in-kind donation for the summer concert series. The series presented by the Friends of the Nature Center will consist of seven weeks of musical entertainment from a variety of groups.
DLC, Inc. is planning to sponsor a fireworks display to be put on by Flashing Thunder for the Hoedown celebration on Friday, July 28. All the plans comply with the State Fire Marshal requirements and DLC has proof of insurance.
Since the site for setting off the fireworks has changed due to the larger size of fireworks used, there was a question about whether permission was needed from the DNR. Bob Storlie, DNR Area 3C Supervisor/Parks and Trails, replied to City Administrator Michelle Quinn that he was not aware of any need for a permit since the fireworks were not being launched from state property. Quinn commented that at this time they are “just working through the process.”
Yet another preparation for summer was the issuing of a temporary liquor license for Hoedown. Such a license approval was necessary before submission to the state.
Summer rec is gearing up for the summer. Emily Krage reported that applicants for summer rec staff will be interviewed this week. Summer rec could still use more staff; Krage encouraged more youth to apply for the open positions.
Paul Reardon of WinSton Garvel Cup visited the council to request permission to bring in food trucks for the race set for September 23. This will be the third year that the WinSton Gravel Cup race will come to Houston. Organizers had decided to have participants get food from the Houston Block Party which had been scheduled the same weekend.
Once Reardon learned the date for the block party had been changed, he knew he’d need to find another food option. He shared that he’d been checking into the possibility of local food trucks or a catering service. The WinSton Gravel Cup donates profits back to the community; in the past two years they have donated about $4,000. This year they plan to donate to the Nature Center and to the school lunch program. The council granted Reardon’s request for permission to bring in food trucks.
In other business the council:
• Accepted a gift basket from Bolton Menk and decided to give it to the Houston Fire Department to be raffled off;
• Approved the modified contract with Waste Management for the next five years; the new contract will go into effect August 1, and new recycling totes as well as calendars of pickup dates will be distributed before August;
• Accepted the recommendation of the planning board to rezone Houston Housing parcels at 200 South Erickson from Commercial II and Residential I to Residential II;
• Granted a variance for the construction of replacement dugouts at the school; the new dugouts will be aligned to the north wall and will be at the same location;
• Approved a liability waiver to waive monetary limits; this action done annually makes more money available (from $500,000 to $2,000,000) if a claim is made;
• Empowered City Administrator Quinn ot work with the city attorney regarding a request from the International Owl Center regarding city-owned property at the Trailhead Park;
• Approved the agreement and commitment to serve for the ambulance personnel; new personnel will be reimbursed for initial training expenses with a one year commitment to remain on the ambulance staff;
• Officially accepted the resignation of retiring librarian Liz Gibson-Gasset and chose council representatives for the librarian interview team.
The meeting was closed to “consider preliminary allegations against an individual subject to its authority.”
The next Houston City Council meeting will be June 12 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall. The public is welcome to attend.