Wyoming voters will use Maranatha

Wyoming Council OK’s plan for $150,000 skate park 

Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

As a result of action taken at the Wyoming City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 3, the entire city is now a single voting precinct. The designated polling place is located at Maranatha Church, 24799 Forest Blvd. (US-61).

Before the merger, residents of the township voted at the town hall, and city residents voted at city hall. As a result of the recent legislative redistricting, voting precinct boundaries must be set and there are time limits established for these changes to be made.

Residents of Wyoming are now all represented by a one state district representative, one U.S. congressman, and one Chisago County commissioner. It makes sense that residents should be able to vote at one precinct, Administrator Craig Mattson told the council. Maranatha is large enough to accommodate all eligible voters.

Maranatha will be the polling place for the Aug. 14 primary election and the Nov. 6 general election. Council unanimously supported the action.

Skateboard Park

Council voted to dedicate not-to-exceed $150,000 for purposes of developing a skateboard park. Council member Roger Elmore, liaison with the park board, made the motion.

During the open forum, Ted Phillips, a former council member, spoke in support of the project. Russ and Lois Janke, members of the Skateboard Task Force, spoke in support of the project on behalf of city youth. Some 20 young people attended.

Bob Beynon, park board chair, said many youth have been attending park board meetings, expressing interest in the construction of a skateboard park. This has been a long-standing request from younger city residents and recognition by the park board to diversify recreation equipment beyond swings, slides and ball fields.

A Skateboard Task Force brought a concept plan to the council in September 2011, with evidence of community support by the number of people on the task force and signatures collected during Stagecoach Days.

At that time the estimated cost of a park was about $100,000. Elmore suggested the task force raise 20 percent of the cost, with some donations in the form of labor and/or concrete work. A letter of support from the city was to help in securing future bids.

Council member Linda Yeager referred to the September discussion, especially as related to the estimated cost and task force contribution. About $2,000 has been raised. Lois Janke said no businesses have been contacted yet.

As part of the general fund, the park capital improvement project has just under $100,600. The park board CIP has just under $166,800. Based on these numbers, the city has and can use the money to make capital improvements in parks. It is the plan to pool resources into one CIP for the entire city and prioritize projects.

Elmore explained that it has been years since there has been any large park development.

Other park funds however, are dedicated to park acquisition and trail development. This money comes from park dedication fees, not tax dollars.

Caution Stated

There were voices raised in caution or opposition to the project. Don Waller, a former mayoral candidate, spoke against the project as not a priority and initially thinking the money was tax revenue.

Other comments were about the vandalism at the now closed city skateboard park in Forest Lake and other sites. The park at North Branch has floor surface which is wearing out because some of the materials which did not wear well.

In the end, the vote was 4-1 to dedicate up to $150,000 for a skate park.  Council member Yeager voted against the action.

In a second related action council approved Spohn Ranch Skate Board to design the skate park and prepare specifications. The potential site for a skate park was identified as Goodview Park because of it high visibility and relative ease of supervision.

Jeff Allen, park board member, said that Spohn uses cushioned concrete. He believes the project would benefit locals and be a draw for others into the city.

Beynon spoke in support of Spohn Ranch because the company specializes in construction of these facilities. The company designs with the anticipated participant wishes and needs in mind. The company is building a park in Richfield in May and a Wyoming project could possibly be completed shortly thereafter.

The company has also built projects in Bemidji and Cloquet and knows the climate and how to select materials for durability. Beynon said the company works to build features into the park which make the park attractive.

Yeager referred to North Branch which was completing a two-phase project, the first for about $32,730. She thought the city might approach the project in stages.

Elmore supported Spohn as a design firm because durable concrete used in construction. “You get more park for the money,” he said.

Chisago City has expanded its skate park with an all-concrete addition.

Cameron Janke, one of the young people, said  boarders hope for challenge at different skill levels in the same park, even as skills improve.

Mayor Eric Peterson urged more input financially from the youth. Part of this should be solicitation from businesses and other serious fund raising. It might be viewed as reimbursement to parks. There have been no approaches to businesses yet.

The vote in support of Spohn Ranch Skate Board to design plans was 4-1. Yeager voted against the motion. While competitive bids are required, Spohn may also serve as construction manager.

After the vote, one supportive woman in the audience informally addressed the youth that they should not view the skate park as an entitlement and should respect the facilities. They should be giving something back to the city, by way of offering some effort themselves to contribute to the project, she said. They should view fund-raising as more than requesting funds and contributions from others.

Other News

Council member Steve Zerwas reported a special meeting of the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewer Commission, scheduled in Lindstrom on April 4, related to the cost of the study to determine the price of processing septic system effluent in the CLJST system.

Zerwas had no additional news about the pump shafts which had failed in the pump sites. Design of the shafts has been studied; now the focus is on the specifications for materials. CLJSC is in litigation with the company which made the shafts. One concern is debris and rags blocking the lift stations.

Yeager reported attending the Peterson annexation hearings. She is to attend the ribbon cutting for the community garden at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 15 just east of the Fairview Lakes Medical Center campus and Fallbrook Ave. and north of the staff parking lot.

Council tabled discussion of the employment agreement for the officer administrator/EDA coordinator/IT specialist, until April 11. The employment agreement for police sergeants Scott Dexter and Brian Rod, was also tabled. Action to table both was unanimous.

After reports, the council adjourned in a closed session to discussion labor agreements and the Law Enforcement Labor Services for the police contact.

Other Business

In other business, the council:

•Approved minutes of the special meeting/work session for March 20, 2012.

•Unanimously approved the minutes of the March 20 regular council meeting, with a spelling correction in one name.

•Authorized payment of the bills, payroll, and journal entries for March 21 through April 3 in the amount of $59,667.06.