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Library expansion efforts move forward
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The Soldiers Grove Library was able to report progress on the expansion project to the Soldiers Grove Village Board at their regular meeting held on Thursday, July 5.

According to Library Director Cele Wolf, Richland Grant Telephone Cooperative has chosen to help support the community effort.

“I spoke with Jaime Goldsmith at Richland Grant,” Wolf reported. “They plan to network the library and not charge us. That’s materials and labor. It’s really a significant expense.”

With the architects finalizing the library’s blueprints so the project can move forward in three phases, ensuring the most important aspects are completed first, Wolf noted they still continue to fundraise and receive donations.

“We will be meeting with Vernon Memorial to see how they can support the project,” Wolf said. “And individual donors continue to send money. Each donation affects the total we will receive through the Community Block Grant we were awarded, increasing its overall amount.”

Despite plans for central air through the new library in the future, the village board approved paying for new window unit air conditioners for both the library and the village office. The library was forced to purchase a new unit during the worst of the recent heat wave, when its unit quit functioning. The village office air conditioner was also failing and needed replacement immediately. It was unanimously approved to pay for both units from the general fund.

The new planters to be installed along the edge of the parking lot facing Highway 61 have been ordered by the Community Development Corporation, as reported by Pete Knapik.

“What we found has been discounted from $1,000 to $300,” said Knapik. “We will place six of them, evenly spaced, along the road front. They’ll be easy to plow around this winter and won’t block parking.”

Knapik explained that the CDC can spend these monies since they now receive room tax money which is earmarked for expenditures that help promote tourism. Beautification activities, he explained, come under that designation.

“We haven’t had a loan application in a few years,” Knapik said in response to a board query about CDC funds. “We probably need to get out a press release to remind folks that there are funds available to help eligible businesses.”

Moving on to Parks and Recreation issues, the board voted to disallow future tent staking on the blacktop at Beauford T. Anderson Park. Concerns were raised over how stakes were removed this year and the amount of damage done. It was pointed out that staking of the Lion’s tent had been done in the same places as the previous year and when the stakes were removed the holes were far worse.

“It’s the cumulative affect,” pointed out trustee Jim Helgerson. “Too many times and these are going to damage the blacktop.”

Bids were received on local road improvements and the proposed sidewalk, curb and delivery drive for the medical clinic and pharmacy.

Bids for the local road improvements came in slightly higher than estimated when the village applied for Department of Transportation grant funds, which they were then approved for. The grant would have paid half the costs based on the original estimates.

The lone road bid, received from the Kieler-based Iverson Construction was approved.

The bids for the proposed work by the medical buildings came in far higher than expected.

A verbal assurance had been given previously that Vernon Memorial would cover half the costs of installing sidewalk and curb between the medical clinic and pharmacy, as well as paving and widening the delivery drive, but a written agreement to do so is not yet in hand.

With a bid of $18,246 for the work, several board members expressed reservation in moving forward without seeking additional bids.

“I’m against this,” said trustee Vicki Campbell. “I think we should look at rebidding the drive for now and looking back at the rest of this next year.”

“We just don’t have this budgeted,” added trustee Shane Chapman.

It was agreed unanimously that new bids would be sought for widening the delivery drive and the remaining work would be tabled to next year. No work would proceed without VMH paying half of the costs.

In other news, the Soldiers Grove Village Board:

• approved rental of an arm mower from the Town of Clayton

• approved ordering of new plastic digital-read water meters which have been mandated by state for new installations

• decided to not replace form boards removed from horseshoe pits during Dairy Days

• gave permission to the Lions Club to put in a second volleyball pit with the village removing sod and supplying sand

• discontinued the village ad in Hidden Valleys