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Wells eyes finish of city projects

By Staff | Aug 14, 2016

As summer comes closer and closer to an end, Wells’ summer checklist is looking like it is getting closer and closer to completion, with just a few projects still to finish before autumn arrives.

Though city engineer Travis Winter was not at the Wells City Council meeting last Monday evening, he did report to city administrator Robin Leslie that a final punch list has been created for the Safe Routes to School project with their contractors.

“The only concerns we have right now is that a lot of the turf we laid in people’s yards has died and turned to weeds, so we will need to fix that,” says Leslie. “And, we will want to double check our solar-powered walking beacon lights. We have heard some concerns that they are not being triggered properly, so we will certainly look into that as well.”

The final gradation of the old United South Central School site should also be in its final stages, according to the city administrator. She informed the council that all of the contaminated fill in the plot of land was removed and refilled with proper fill.

A blight property, known as the Johnson property, located at 412 First Ave. SW, is set to be torn down on Oct. 1.

“This property has been a blight for some time, and we have been trying to tackle this issue for a good year,” says Leslie.

Wells Federal Bank in Wells owns the property and had questioned whether the property was salvageable. After a deep cleaning of the property, it was found that much of the property is unfit, so the decision was made to demolish the property.

Rick Ash of United Hospital District also paid a visit to the Wells City Council and discussed the UHD?property in Wells with its poor parking lot conditions.

“We know that there have been some concerns with the potholes and pavement in that parking lot,” says Ash, “and we will most certainly go ahead and repave the parking lot near the entrance of the clinic building.”

There was some consideration of the city taking over the parking lot area, but the council decided to pass on the opportunity and allow public works to take over the majority of the parking area that UHD?does not own.

Ash’s other concern was that a portion of the main street businesses use the back alley and UHD parking area for semi trucks and unloading, which has damaged the bituminous pavement of UHD’s lot.

“Initially, our bid to resurface the area came back with an estimate of $130,000. That’s a lot of money. We are still going to go ahead and repave at our parking lot and clinic entrances, but we may fill the rest of the parking area with gravel or grass,” says Ash.

Steve Linde of the Wells Park Board addressed the council about replacing the public restrooms at Half Moon Park.

“It’s time we took a look at those atrocious bathrooms and get them taken care of and updated once and for all,” said Linde after he shared a long list of vendors willing to donate supplies and costs to help complete the project for the park.

“We have a very tight budget right now,” said Leslie. “But, I’m also sure we can find some way to make this project happen. If we were to have all of the donors supply what they’ve stated, our cost could be around $8,000 or less.”

The City Council approved Linde’s request for new bathrooms at Half Moon Park. Linde stated the hope is that the majority of the structure building will take place during the early fall, and once the structure is sound, come springtime, the restrooms will be remodeled on the inside.

Lastly, the council discussed the idea of increasing the ticket prices at the Flame Theatre a hot topic of discussion for some time.

“It is entirely up to council as to whether or not to raise ticket prices,” said Leslie. “It was suggested that we raise the adult tickets by one dollar, but leave the children’s tickets the same price.”

Without councilwoman Whitney Harig available for the meeting, who is the city council representative on the community theater board, the rest of the council decided to wait to make any further decisions until Harig’s opinion was heard.

“She’s got the theater’s perspective on things, so I suggest we wait until she’s with us again,” stated councilman John Herman.

Lastly, Leslie reminded the public of the two city council seats and the seat for mayor that are open for reelection with filing for the positions open until Aug. 16. Only time will tell who will fill those seats.