Council approves pool repairs

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Parks and rec director John Fenske began the Sept. 24 Spring Valley City Council meeting with an update on the city's pool.

This summer it was discovered the pool had a sizable leak, so once the season was done Fenske had Roto-Rooter inspect the site. The leak was within the plumbing system along the pavilion.

With the Kingsland school year ending early next spring, the council determined the repairs should be completed this fall even though it was not budgeted.

The city received an estimate of $10,151.19 from Thatcher Pools for the repairs.

Sentence to Serve (STS) will be completing some of the concrete dismantling work in early October.

According to city administrator Deb Zimmer, the cost can be covered by the gambling fund.

The council voted to approve the repair estimate.

Workforce housing opportunity

Jeff Allman, owner of the Commercial House, approached the council to discuss a possible opportunity through Minnesota Housing's Workforce Housing Development Program for a two-to-one matching grant for multi-family rental properties.

Up to $1.9 million in grant or deferred loan funds are available through this program.

Allman shared plans for two possible projects, the first to renovate the Commercial House and the second to build a three-story apartment, similar in style to the Commercial House with 12 units and an elevator to all three floors. The space could potentially also have commercial space on the ground floor.

Because the application for the program is due by Oct. 11, Allman, with the aid of the Spring Valley Economic Development Authority (EDA) and its director Cathy Enerson, has been working tirelessly to come up with the plans for the projects. Now Allman is seeking support from the council.

“This is a really good way to recover a struggling portion of the downtown,” Allman said.

Council member Todd Jones questioned whether the area would be able to support the necessary parking for the new rental space.

Mayor Jim Struzyk suggested Allman go before the Spring Valley Planning and Zoning next to go over the plans for the new structure and determine if apartments would be allowed on the first floor.

Department reports

According to library director Jenny Simon, the exterior finish insulation system (EFIS) on the Spring Valley Public Library will be repaired in the spring.

Simon noted the library is still waiting to hear back from the county on a funding proposal for libraries in the county.

Fenske was happy to report the Spring Valley Community Center has been steadily booked this fall and park and rec activities are now in full swing for the season.

Street maintenance supervisor Chad Hindt stated they have been busy with mowing, making curb repairs and doing an inventory of manholes throughout the city that need to be repaired.

Waste water treatment plant (WWTP) director Aaron Hamersma reported the recent rains have caused a flow of 700,000 gallons a day in the plant compared to 285,000 gallons on an average day. Hamersma calls these numbers a drastic improvement as it is less volume than earlier in the year before improvements were made.

The ambulance service has had a busy year, as it is 83 calls ahead from last year, according to co-director Sue Puffer. She thanked the fire and sheriff's departments for their continued support.

The new ambulance should be in within the next two weeks and they are looking into grants that would help with the cost of new equipment for the vehicle.

Though the fire department has had a quiet month, Fire Chief Troy Lange noted they are preparing for their pancake breakfast coming up in October.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m.