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Library expansion moves forward
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The Soldiers Grove Village Board heard an update on the public library expansion project and passed a motion formally hiring an architectural firm to create a design for it.

Dale Klemme, the Executive Director of Community Development Alternatives, advised the board that it was necessary to have a formal board resolution authorizing the hiring of architects Cameron-Aslaksen to design the project. CDA is a consultant to the village on the library expansion project and a grant that will fund a large portion of it.

The architectural firm has been working on the project with an understanding that they were selected to do the work, but the board had not formalized the hiring through a resolution, according to Klemme.

Village trustee Jim Helgerson made the motion to hire the architects and Robert Froiseth second the motion. It was approved by the board.

Earlier in the presentation, Soldiers Grove Library Board Treasurer Russell Gilbert reviewed the current state of fundraising for the board.

“A year ago, we came to you and told you if you approved the plan we would pay for it,” Gilbert said. “We didn’t know you would have to continue to be involved.”

Gilbert said that the estimated cost of the entire project is $680,000. About 75 percent of that amount had been raised.

Soldiers Grove Public Librarian Cele Wolf told the board that Organic Valley had donated $5,000 from a community-giving fund directly funded by employees. She noted that 14 OV employees stepped forward to support the library expansion’s request for funds.

Jerry Quebe, chairman of the library expansion committee, informed the board that the architects were proceeding to create a base bid and then would develop a list of alternatives. Quebe told the board that he hoped by mid–November the village would have the bids for the project.

If the village board was in agreement on how to proceed with the library expansion, that was not the case during the discussion on a proposed sidewalk and ramp to connect the Kickapoo Valley Medical Clinic to the nearby Vernon Memorial Healthcare Pharmacy.

Village trustee Vicki Campbell objected to spending village funds on a sidewalk and ramp project to connect to VMH buildings, when VMH paid no taxes to the village because of its non-profit status.

Meanwhile, village trustee Jim Helgerson had an entirely opposite idea on funding the project.

“Look at the jobs,” Helgerson said in reference to the pharmacy and clinic. “What little town like this has a pharmacy and a clinic?”

Campbell told the board she remained “totally against it.”

“We can’t constantly be doing things like this,” Campbell said.

The project in its entirety would cost about $18,246, according to village president Laurel Hestetune. He noted that a representative from VMH who had brought the project up to him said she would check with the VMH board to see if they would cost share on the project. She indicated to Hestetune VMH might be willing to pay for half of the cost of the project.

At some point, village clerk Tammy Kepler found the records of last year’s tax payments, which indicated VMH had in fact paid $1,600 in taxes on one building and $1,200 on the other.

The board decided to table the matter until Hestetune could get more information on VMH’s intention to fund half or part of the project.

In other business, the Soldiers Grove Village Board:

• heard a clarification from Ben Clason on his work and a bill from BS Refrigeration pertaining to the Morga basement cleanup project

• agreed the village would accept credit card payments if in so doing they would incur no costs

• agreed to hire personnel from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department to help enforce village ordinances for 4 to 12 hours per week at a cost of $35 per hour

• approved requesting the Wisconsin DOT allow a three-foot break in guardrails near the bridge to allow the Soldiers Grove trail access

• heard a report on cleanup day that cited problems with improperly discarded tires, computers and appliances

• agreed to donate $350 toward the Gays Mills Fourth of July fireworks display