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Trailer problems persist for village
Soldiers Grove
Soldiers Grove

SOLDIERS GROVE - The trailer, situated in the Soldiers Grove Village Park, that was a problem addressed by the village board in December has popped back up at another location in the village. The trailer is now located on a property on Tavern Road, after having been ejected from the park. The owners of the trailer by report moved it to Readstown before being “chased out.”

In December, Soldiers Grove Village President Paul Nicholson advocated for enactment of a new ‘Trespassing and Public Campground Ordinance,’ after it was determined that the Crawford County Sheriff would not assist the village in seeing the camper removed. The board adopted the ordinance, and the camper was moved.

Now the camper is ensconced on the Shelley Strait property on Tavern Road, which is within the village limits. Village ordinances require that mobile homes in the village be located within the trailer park, and residents are also required to seek village permission for an outdoor woodburning device. Residences in the village are required to have a permanent foundation.

“We’ve received a couple of complaints,” Nicholson said. “I’ve spoken to our attorney and also been in contact with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department about the possibility of renting their services to enforce our ordinances like the Village of Wauzeka does.”

Nicholson said that not only is the trailer parked at the property, but the residents have also placed their woodstove outside the trailer. He said that the trailer owners have built a box around the woodstove, and heat is being piped into the trailer.

Nicholson reports that the contract with the sheriff’s department can be very flexible. A department deputy will basically volunteer for the job, and the village will be charged $35 per hour. If any tickets are issued, they would come from the village and not the county, and it is the village’s attorney that would have to pursue it in court.

“Since it is not on the agenda for this meeting, the board will not be able to vote on moving forward with such a contract,” Nicholson said. “So, I will either put it on the agenda for our next meeting or possibly call a special meeting.”

CDC loan discussed

Noel Miller, who has recently started a hotel business in the old tobacco warehouse in the village, attended the meeting to discuss a possible loan from the Soldiers Grove Community Development Corporation for the relocation of his tree business. 

“We really don’t have enough space or parking at the tobacco warehouse location to run both businesses,” Miller explained. “For this reason, I am purchasing a property along Highway 131 in the village limits to develop as a location for the tree business.”

When reached after the meeting, Miller explained that his business is really working as a ‘tree broker,’ working with a variety of orchards in the upper Midwest. Most of the trees he sells are fruit trees, and the business will have a new name in 2021 – Root to Fruit Nursery. Miller says that the new property is basically just a hayfield, and that he is seeking the loan because he will need to drill a well and put in a road.

Miller requested a loan in the amount of $40,000. Trustee Vicki Campbell said that the village typically limits CDC loans to between $20,000 to $25,000. Nicholson told Miller that he would be required to provide the board with a financial statement and a business plan, and that a banker would have to review both before the loan could be approved.

Holiday giving

In the absence of Soldiers Grove Fire Chief Roger Olson, Nicholson reported that the fire department’s holiday giving effort was executed well.

“The Toy and Food Drive was a great success,” Nicholson said. “We were able to provide toys and food to 51 children from 19 families, and I am very proud of the fire department.”

Nicholson said that the department had not spent all of the funds raised for the effort. He said that money would be put in the Red Coats Fund, earmarked for 2021 holiday giving efforts.

Other business

In other business the board:

• received feedback in the public input section of the meeting that it would be helpful to have a drop box available for times when the village office was not open

• decided to leave the winter decorations up through the winter

• heard that Francis Schoenfeld may be building a structure on a property in the village where another building was recently torn down without a building permit. The activity will be verified by drone, and then the landowner will be contacted

• drew names to determine the order that candidates for the village board will appear on the ballot for the April election. Four candidates will vie for three positions, and their names will appear in the following order: Homer Arndt, Vicki Campbell, Steve George, Jerry Miller.