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Soldiers Grove could get assisted living facility
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Community Health Services (CHS) is looking to create an assisted living facility in the area, according to a short presentation made at the Soldiers Grove Board meeting on November 6 by Jackie Carley, the Vice President of Finance and Administrator of Sannes Skogdalen Heim.

“Our interest is in running a facility, not in owning it,” Carley noted.

CHS has been in talks for some time with David Connelly of the Crawford County Economic Development Corporation, according to Carley. There are investors interested in the project if it is built in Gays Mills, and it appeared there might be some interested if the facility were to be built in Soldiers Grove, as well.

“We need assisted living in our area,” Carley said. “It is a piece of the picture that we don’t have.”

Initial talks with investors were focused on Gays Mills, Carley noted, but the search to creating an investor package was being expanded to include Soldiers Grove as a potential site at the request of Laurel Hestetune, a member of the CHS board.

“We are going to have a meeting in two weeks to sit down with everyone involved,” said Jerry Moran, the Soldiers Grove Village President. “I think it is important that we be involved and that we put our support behind this project.”

Tami Steyer asked the board to request that Crawford County give ownership of the abandoned Labato property at 207 Pleasant Street to the village and the village in turn sell it to Steyer and her husband.

Steyer indicated that she is willing to acquire the property as is and clear it of the abandoned building so that the village incurs no expense.

The property was taken over by the county for approximately $2,300 in back taxes on November 1. The normal process would be for the property to go to public auction, but the process can be altered according to Steyer.

“We can’t do anything until we have talked to our attorney,” Moran responded. “If this will work, I think we should do it.”

Moran agreed to speak to the village’s attorney and the county’s real property lister to find out what the village can do in relation to obtaining the property outside of the normal process.

The Soldiers Grove Fire Department reported the results of the election of officers: Roger Olson is the new Fire Chief; Ben Clason if the 1st Assistant Fire Chief; and Brian Copus is the 2nd Assistant Fire Chief.

Olson reported that he would be talking to other fire departments to find out whom they use for inspection services. The department is dissatisfied with the current inspector.

“If he is not going to do his job, why keep him,” inquired trustee Jim Helgerson.

The village’s contract with Fire Inspections, Inc. does not end until May.

“He works for a company that will probably send someone else out if we tell them we don’t want to work with this person anymore,” noted trustee Paul Nicholson.

The board approved sending a letter informing Fire Inspections, Inc. of the village’s dissatisfaction and requesting a different inspector. Moran and Olson will sign it.

Trustee Vicki Campbell informed the board that she had still heard nothing back from Ben Eby on the delinquent payments on his Community Development Corporation loan. Multiple attempts to contact Eby have been made without reply.

The second loan made by the CDC to Driftless Brewing Company is having payments made on time.

The CDC fund balances are currently $78,436 in a money market account and $559 in checking.

Room tax collections are current through the second quarter, Campbell notes. The third quarter ended on September 30.

In other business, the Soldiers Grove Village Board:

• heard an update on the Driftless Area Arts Festival and the village website from Liz Quebe

• heard a concern over someone living at the former E.B. Tools (at the corner Pleasant and Atley Streets), which is not zoned for residential use

• heard that the concrete work around the outdoor drain at Driftless Brewing Company has been completed for approximately $200 and DBC will pay half

• heard a request from Nyall Knutson to have maple trees planted adjacent to the Golden Acres Apartments for shade, with no decision made pending further input

• approved skipping a year on trading in a village lawn tractor

• heard an update on the sewer plant and lift station repairs

• approved the Humane Society contract for stray animals

• tabled a decision on health insurance pending further information

• approved the building inspector contract for 2015

• tabled the audit contract, which had not been received

• set the public hearing for the village’s preliminary budget for 6 p.m. on December 4, 2014

• approved a 23¢ per hour raise for Soldiers Grove Village Clerk Tammy Kepler to cover additional time and responsibilities in taking over the fire department bookkeeping