During the July 6 Ostrander City Council meeting, the board discussed the condition of the playground equipment in the city park. Council members present included Stephanie Start, Dan Hellerud, Vernon Thompson, and Mayor Pam Kunert, along with Jeremy Runkle and city clerk Wendy Brincks. DJ Start was absent.
Regarding the playground equipment at the city park, Wendy Brincks said the aging equipment is steadily becoming a bigger concern, and she added, “Jeremy caught this morning that there is one section of the playdeck completely missing… We know something has to be done. I think we need to set up a special meeting and pull everybody together…” Two members of the local Lions Club addressed the council on the matter of playground equipment. Margaret Wierson stated, “We’ve written, from the Ostrander Lions, a check for $7,000 to go toward the project.” The said the current play system was installed in 2003, so it may not be worth fixing, and a completely new system may be the best decision. She also added that whatever system Ostrander decides upon, one consideration should be whether or not the selected company is able to send someone out if Ostrander has concerns after installation.
Mary Anderson said she had brought a $2,000 check from the Lions Club to be used for equipment and/or supplies for kids’ sports at the ball diamond. Council members expressed gratitude for both donations. Brincks said she will work on setting up a meeting later in July to discuss the best options for a new play system at the park. The exact date and time of the meeting will be announced later. Mayor Kunert added that another need at the ball diamond is the roofing on the concession stand.
The council heard from Brian Malm, representing the engineering firm of Bolton & Menk. He said the new water tower is nearing completion, with some painting yet to be completed. He said that regarding the ongoing infrastructure/street project, General Construction Services is the contractor, and there have been significant delays compared to the expected timeline. Malm stated that although the city has discussed changing the expected completion date from March 2021 to July 9, 2021, “Basically, you haven’t approved the change order yet. So technically, the way it stands right now, the contract still says they were supposed to have this done back in March… They do deserve an extension. We had talked about July 9, because we thought that made sense based on the issues they ran into… that were beyond their control.” Malm said if the council approves an extension to July 9, and if the project still isn’t completed by that date, then Bolton & Menk could discuss with the city about enforcing any penalties included in the contract for not meeting the completion deadline. No formal action was taken at this time. Malm summarized, “We’ll know more at the next council meeting.”
The council adopted two ordinances as proposed. The first addresses “shipping containers” and the second deals with “temporary carports.” Brincks explained, “The gist of the shipping containers is just that we will not allow them. We will permit someone to have a shipping container if they’re going to use it, say, to store building materials while they build their house… and then the shipping container must be removed.” Kunert asked about shipping containers already in town. Brincks said those will be “grandfathered in” so that the city doesn’t end up in an expensive legal dispute,
Brincks continued, “The temporary carport one is extremely similar. It just bans the use of a temporary carport. If there is a temporary carport in place currently, they are grandfathered in. They can stay, but if the tent rips… they are not permitted to put a new tent up.” She said the city will maintain photos of the shipping containers and carports that are being grandfathered in, and will use that to document for any future disputes on the issue.
The council discussed the idea of allowing area businesses and individuals to pay a fee to have a banner displayed on the outfield fence at the ball diamond. The council consensus was that this could be a good fundraiser for the ballpark and activities. Jeremy Runkle said he will check to see how other nearby cities have handled this, regarding the sizing of banners, and the donation requested for displaying them.
The council’s next regular meeting will be Wednesday, August 4, at 6:30pm, in the community center. The public is welcome at all meetings, other than special closed meetings.