Pierz kids will be sliding again in no time

A “keep out” sign guards a slide at the American Legion Park in Pierz, after vandals put a hole in it. Thanks to donations and grants, the city will be able to replace the equipment, as well as bring it up to American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

Kids will be able to use a brand new slide in Pierz, when the vandalized slide at the American Legion Park is replaced sooner than was originally thought. This is thanks to a donation, two grants, and some credit with the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA).

In mid-May, someone put a 1-foot by 1-foot hole in the blue plastic slide, forcing Public Works Supervisor Bob Otremba to put up a fence and a “keep out” sign for safety’s sake.

The slide is part of a playset made by Miracle Recreation about 28 years ago and is no longer available for replacement by itself. The cost to replace the playset, including the slide, as well as other equipment not up to code was estimated at $10,000 – $20,000.

The City Council initially thought it may take a couple of years to find funding in its budget to replace it.

However, Monday night, the Council learned from several Lions members, the club wanted to donate $5,000 toward the purchase, with the goal to have the slide replaced yet this year.

“We feel it should be done this year, as soon as possible,” Lion Jim Gerwing told the Council.

Added to that, Deputy Clerk Kari Tyson applied for two matching Region 5 grants of $2,500 each. She said because Region 5’s grant year ended June 30, and started again July 1, she applied for one during each cycle, totaling $5,000. She also applied for a grant from Minnesota Power for up to $2,000.

A rebate with NJPA of $5,100 “plus change” said City Administrator Nicole Smude, could be added to that total, for just over $20,000.

The Council approved Otremba to spend $25,000 on the equipment replacement, and to replace the sand with manufactured wood fiber chips, which is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Council plans to approach other civic organizations for help with the remainder of the funds.

Otremba said the only bid he has so far is from Miracle Recreation, which has offered a substantial discount on the entire playset, since the slide cannot be replaced by itself.

That issue and how much of the equipment to replace and exactly when, will be discussed by the Public Works Committee, Otremba said. That committee includes Council Members Dave Fischer and Mike Menden, Otremba, and Smude.

“It’s a pretty nice playground for kids on the west side of town,” said Otremba. To access a playground on the east side of town, kids have to cross Highway 25, which is Main Street in Pierz.

“It worked out really well for the city,” said Otremba. “The Lions actually approached us wanting to donate a large sum to a city project. It’s really great that the Lions stepped up. It should be a nice park when we’re done.”

The park is located behind City Hall on the corner of First Street Southwest and Summer Street South.

Pierz City Council Briefs

At Monday’s meeting, the Pierz City Council:

  • Approved a $1,450 contribution to the Initiative Foundation for 2018, the same amount it contributed in 2016 and 2017;
  • Heard from Public Works Supervisor Bob Otremba that sod on Edward Street and Third Avenue was replaced, as the sod the contractor put down as part of last year’s project didn’t meet specifications;
  • Learned Otremba had tried out a system for electronic meter reading;
  • Learned from City Administrator Nicole Smude that Schlenner Wenner & Co. had been working with the office for a mid-year review, to make sure the new Banyan software was working properly and things were coded correctly to ensure a smooth end of year audit;
  • Learned off-sale liquor license holders were able to sell liquor Sundays, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., without any changes in their city licenses;
  • Were reminded the 125th city anniversary golf tournament was set for 3 p.m. Thursday, July 20. Those interested can sign up at City Hall; and
  • Set a meeting for the Property Planning Committee for Monday, July 31, at 5:30 p.m.

The Council next meets Monday, July 24, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.