Upsala to make several new improvements

By Kerry Drager, Correspondent

The city of Upsala is looking to obtain a grant to help purchase and install new playground equipment that is better suited for younger children for the City Park. City Clerk Reva Mische researched many companies for materials used, price and style before settling on a $3,700 Rainbow system. The new equipment is certified commercial and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Council approved  Mische write a grant that will help purchase the playground equipment. According to Mische, the average grant amount requested for this type of project is $5,000. With the cost of ground preparation and equipment installation, they may be requesting closer to that amount.

“We have to take some dirt out and bring in some sand. We’d have some cost in the ground work. You could add another $1,000 to the cost,” said Council Member Dennis Westrich.

The Council is interested in pouring concrete for a new basketball court and Mische will also include the cost of this improvement to her grant request.

A mysterious clay material has been found inside of one of Upsala’s manholes. Responding to a blocked sewer line, Public Works Director Fred Koopmeiners used forced water to open the lines up again. What broke free from the blockage has Koopmeiners puzzled.

“I have a five gallon pail full of this weird stuff that looks like potter’s clay,” he said.

This is the first time he has encountered this type of material in the sewer lines and the City Council suspects that the material is from a resident dumping potter’s clay down their drains.

To help prevent further blockages, Koopmeiners attempted to take samples of the substance to a lab in Sauk Centre, but the lab could not process the material for him. He is currently looking for other labs in the area to help positively identify the substance.

Pedestrians will once again have crosswalks to assist in safe crossings within Upsala. The state of Minnesota has granted the repainting of crosswalks across Main Street/State Highway 238 that cuts through the city. There are at least three places that the City Council is currently concerned with due to high pedestrian traffic. Koopmeiners and Mische will be meeting with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to discuss the location of the crosswalks.

The Council is also interested in having other crosswalks, striping and curbs painted by Sentenced to Serve. Last year this project was put off due to not enough workers available for the task.

Upsala City Council Briefs

Other business that came before the Upsala City Council included:

•Approving a temporary liquor license for the Upsala Blue Jays Amateur Baseball Team (UBA) for Heritage Days and the regional baseball tournament in the amount of $50 for both events. The rest of the season must remain as a 3.2 license;

•Appointing Christine Wuebkers, Mary Jane Chuba, Viola Wuebkers and Joyce Swanson as 2014 election judges;

•Approving plans and specifications for the 2014 street and utilities improvement project. City Engineer Scott Hedlund presented the specs to the Council and also informed them of upcoming permits that would need to be obtained. The Council also approved Hedlund to order bids for the project; and

•Set a public hearing for Monday, July 21, at 7 p.m. on the establishment of tax increment finance district no. 2-4 and the adoption of a tax increment financing plan.

The next regularly scheduled Upsala City Board meeting is Monday, July 7, at 7 p.m. in the city fire hall.