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City of Boscobel and school agree on baseball diamond
Plus, new Assistant Chief
Boscobel City Hall

BOSCOBEL - Officials at the school district and at city hall are ready to play ball: They’ve agreed to collaborate on providing a baseball field for students and the community.

The agreement will save taxpayers as much as $1.75 million, according to Lisa Wallin-Kapinus, Administrator of the Boscobel Area School District, who proposed the cost-share to Common Council at its February 20 meeting. The Park Board previously recommended the action.

“Our discussion was, we feel we want to be a partner with the school,” said Mike Reynold’s,  City Engineer/Director of Public Works, who sits on the Park Board. “The same taxpayers are paying their taxes for the most part, and of course they’re paying ours. Where we can share facilities, I think it makes sense.”

The $254,000 price tag would be covered by the proposed referendum that the district is floating in the spring election. The work would include new fencing, dugouts, and scoreboard, as well as various upgrades. The minimum price for a brand-new field would start at $2 million, according to Wallin-Kapinus. The school would convert the east field at Kronschage Park and share its maintenance and upkeep with the city.

Build-out plan questioned

The lone vote in opposition to the collaboration came from first ward Alderman Gary Kjos, who questioned the school about its expansion plan.

The current proposal expands to the south toward the park, and into the existing baseball field, instead of north toward Brindley Street.

“Why didn’t they build out there in front where all that grass is off the front?” Kjos questioned. “The school board years ago bought them houses up for future expansion, not back in a big old baseball field that’s already done.”

Wallin-Kapinus explained that the space in front of the school would force the architects to leave many classrooms and interior spaces without natural lighting, and that access through Brindley street would be inadequate for the traffic. Instead, handicapped parking will be located to the north, while the southeast corner would include a loop for parents and busses to navigate at drop-off and pickup.

“We have so much looping, people dropping kids off and buses and cars,” said Wallin-Kapinus. “It’s a busy, busy place,” she said.

New Assistant Chief

Travis Dregne will replace Kevin Copus as Boscobel’s Assistant Chief of Police. Copus retires in April.

Police Chief Jaden McCullick told the council that officers Dregne and Sid Kirschbaum submitted letters of interest for the open position.

“I think it’s worth noting that both are extremely qualified for that position,” McCullick said. “It was my opinion that Travis has an edge with training and experience. I don’t want to say that to slight Sid in any way shape or form because he is also very, very qualified. But I do think the edge goes to Travis with that one, as far as the training experience goes, and I think he’s better suited for the job in that respect.”

The council approved the hire unanimously. This leaves an officer position open, and the city is actively seeking recruits.

An inflated truck

What’s a guy gotta do to spend money on a truck these days?

That’s the upshot of a tale told by City Engineer/Director of Public Works Reynolds.

The public utility board approved the purchase of a new digger derrick, which drills holes for power poles, back in July 2021 for delivery one year later. Fat chance. In March 2022, the company raised the price by $20,000 and pushed delivery off several months.

Four months later, notice came they could not get their hands on the Ford chassis required for the vehicle.

“Come January,” Reynolds said, “we got the notice that if we wanted to have the Ford chassis it was going to be another $20,000, and we would probably not get it until November or December of 2023.”

At that point, the board threw up his hands and bought the leased truck it was using while it waited for the replacement, Reynolds said.

“So the total price, if we had gone ahead and kept with the new one, we’d be at $300,000 for that new digger derrick,” he reported. “When we purchased the old one in 2001, it was $117,000. I mean that kind of just gives you the idea of where things are going.”

That’s about $100,000 over and above the standard adjusted-for-inflation calculation from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other business

The council also:

• Heard that the pool manager is stepping down to take a job at a summer camp.

• Learned that the hunt for the missing time capsule is still active.

• Approved the purchase of new radio units for the police department.