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Soldiers Grove Library roof is leaking
Soldiers Grove

SOLDIERS GROVE - The Soldiers Grove Village Board worked through an interesting agenda last Thursday night that included a brief tour of the adjacent public library with library director Cele Wolf.

Wolf wanted the board to see damage being caused to the ceilings and wall by the massive load of melting snow and ice on the roof.

The librarian told the board despite efforts of others to get snow and ice off the roof, a solid core of ice remained. Buckets and sheets of plastic were strategically placed in the new section of the library to catch dripping water and protect bookcases.

The worst of the problem seemed to be occurring where the roof of the original library joined the roof of the addition (the former pharmacy building).

Shayne Chapman, acting as the chairperson of the meeting in the absence of village president Steve George, told Wolf that she would have to wait for everything to melt and then contact the insurance company.

“It's probably a June thing,” Chapman said of the needed repairs. Wolf agreed to keep the board informed of the situation.

During the fire department report, Soldiers Grove Fire Chief Roger Olson informed the board that Forkash Electric had completed some needed electrical work at the fire department.

Olson also informed the board that the fire department responded to a tractor fire call at the Hartley farm recently. The fire chief also indicated that piling snow in front of the fire department was causing a problem maneuvering in and out of the building and needs to be avoided in the future.

Olson told the board that it was time to replace Pumper #2. The truck is a 1981 model. The chief explained the department was willing to look for a used truck on auction sites, but he feared if they found one it would be gone before the board could approve its purchase. 

The board told Olson they would convene a special meeting if that were the case to get the expenditure approved quickly. 

In answer to a question from village trustee Vicki Campbell, Olson said the department had $52,000 in a fund that could be used toward the purchase of a pumper truck.

Village clerk Tammy Kepler told the board that despite advertising, the village had not received any bids for the needed repair work from flood damage in the park. Those damages would include paving in the parking lot adjacent to the shelter, concrete work on sidewalks and curb, as well as electrical work at the campsites and on the ball field. The board agreed to re-advertise the work for bids and to personally reach out to potential contractors to make them aware of the available work.

The director of public works, Brian Copus, reported that an engineering firm had to be summoned for an emergency at the sewer plant. Three workers worked two days on pumps and the plant continued to function without having to bypass any sewer water.

Copus told the board that pumps used for disinfecting water at the plant needed to be replaced. He recommended purchasing two pumps for a total of $1,900. That proposal is a cheaper alternative than replacing the pump with the same kind of pumps currently being used, which cost $1,400 each. The board approved the purchase.

Copus also told the board that the snowplow he was driving was involved in an accident at an intersection with little visibility due to mounded snow.  The plow had little damage but the SUV that hit it had severe damage. No one was hurt in the accident.

Finally, the board heard about a flooding situation on Yankeetown Road that would need to be corrected. Chapman told the board that tubes were plugged on property owned by Roderick Olson and Larry Olson.

“We need to talk with the landowners and get something done,” Chapman said.

The American Legion Post 220 Commander Brian McCoy and Julie Ruff told the board the local legion post was interested in doing a fundraiser to help the village repair the park from the flood damages. The board told the legionnaires that FEMA would pay for some of the damage repair, but it was not clear at this point how much. The board also noted that the village would have to come up with 12.5 percent of matching funds for whatever FEMA provided. 

McCoy and Ruff explained that their ‘People Helping People’ effort to assist flood victims had raised over $11,000 in 18 days. They said those funds were distributed to residents in Soldiers Grove, Readstown and Gays Mills. Ruff said the Legion envisioned a summer cookout as a fundraiser. McCoy said if the park was not ready to use, the fundraiser could be held at the Legion Hall.

The board indicated they would welcome the financial help in repairing the damage in the park.

Vicki Campbell said the BMW Motorcycle Club, which holds a rally in Soldiers Grove every spring had shown a willingness to help the village. This year the BMW Motorcycle Rally is scheduled for May 17 and the village’s Dairy Days Celebration is scheduled June 15 and 16.

Ron and Kathy Sobek, owners of Desperados Bar & Grill, discussed having a grand opening event on May 18. The board said they had permission to do so and permission to erect a tent in the open space behind the bar. The board said they will not need a special picnic liquor license because they have a liquor license and the tent will be contiguous to the bar. The owners said they planned to have the event from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and there would be some noise from the music.

Grand opening news was in the air it seemed. Driftless Brewery’s Cynthia Olmstead said the company had a grant opportunity for a summer event. She wondered if the village would be wiling to partner in the event at no cost to the village. Olmstead said the brewery was looking at a July date to celebrate the grand opening of the new taproom. She also indicated the brewery would be interested in working with other businesses including the new Solar Meats to celebrate all the businesses in the village.

 The board agreed to be a partner to the event as long as they did not have to contribute financially.

The meeting ended on a rather important agenda item.

Ryan Campbell, who along with his wife Krystal owns Campbell’s One Stop, sent a sealed letter to the board. In the letter, Ryan made an offer to purchase a village-owned 24-acre parcel of wooded land across from the Baker Creek Trailer Court for $50,000. The offer would require the village to have a professional survey of the property completed.

Village trustee Vicki Campbell, Ryan’s mother, insisted she was staying out of the discussion.

In the discussion that followed, it was noted the village had been asking $2,500 per acre and this offer was effectively $2,000 per acre. However, it was noted that in two years the village only received one offer on the property and that was too low.

It was noted by Shayne Chapman that accepting the offer would put the property back on the tax role.

There was some talk about whether a house could be built on a small portion of the site that might be suitable. The land is currently zoned as forestry, according to the village clerk. However, housing is conditional use in forestry zoning. 

A motion to approve the sale was made by Roy Davidson and seconded by Harrison Heilman. The vote in favor of the motion to approve the sale of the property was 4-0, provided the village gets the approval of their lawyer and the surveyor.