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Rib Lake opens playgrounds, park pavilion

Rib Lake opens playgrounds, park pavilion Rib Lake opens playgrounds, park pavilion

Following a short discussion at its July 8 meeting, the Rib Lake Village Board voted (Russ Bullis voting no) to open the village playgrounds and the Lakeview Park pavilion.

Village president Bill Schreiner said he called the village’s insurance company to find out if Rib Lake would be liable in any way if something happened and was told absolutely not. “We’ve been getting a lot of calls about the playground not being open and the pavilion not being open. And I think everyone knows what they have to do now.”

“But are they doing it,” commented trustee Russ Bullis.

“That’s their responsibility and that’s just what the lady at the insurance company said,” Schreiner responded.

Trustee Cliff Mann said there was a softball tournament taking place in Marathon and there were children climbing all over the playground equipment.

“There is not social distancing going on,” Bullis said. “My opinion hasn’t changed. I’m only one, but — I watched the news tonight. There are 31 states where the cases are rising again now. Madison, Dane County are requiring everyone to wear masks out in public because it’s going up. Eight hundred and seven deaths in Wisconsin. You don’t know what they’re going to do about school this fall, trying to figure that out. Right around the area here, Marathon County has 226 confirmed cases, Taylor County has 16, Clark County has 87, Lincoln County 17 — 47 counties have high activity now compared to 10 or 12 weeks ago.”

Trustee Vernell Van Hecker said if you look back at Taylor County, there was only one for a long time. “If you look at the testing, there was only 100 tests done. You’re not going to find anyone with 100 tests. Once you get to a 1,000 tests, you’re going to start finding them.”

Village clerk Dawn Swenson said when people call her office, they are confused as to why bars, restaurants and grocery are open where adults have something to do, but that children don’t have a playground to play on. She said they are also confused that the Ice Age Pavilion and the playground there are open, but not the playground by the village hall or at Lakeview Park.

Bullis asked trustee George Tesch what county health director Patty Krug told the Ice Age Committee when they opened the playground.

Tesch said Krug told them to put up a sign and tape around the playground equipment, which he said was torn down. “It’s only a recommendation.” He said as for the pavilion, the committee disinfects the facility as best it can and were told by Krug to tell whoever rents it that this is what they are recommended to do. “Patty said they’re not going to send cops up to arrest 3-year-olds for playing on the swings.”

Mann said one of his concerns was that the village seemed to be doing okay with the number of campers using the campground in the park. He wondered if the village started renting out the pavilion and there were 100 or 150 people using it, would that discourage the campers from using the park. Mann said he would be in favor of opening up the playgrounds, but wasn’t sure about the pavilion because it might scare away campers.

Van Hecker said he didn’t think that would scare campers away.

Public Works director Tom Olson added the campers who are there are all gathered in the center anyway. “They’re not distancing, Cliff. They’re all around the two fire pits that are there.”

Assistant clerk-treasurer Following a closed-door session, the board approved hiring Kristin Lueck as assistant clerk-treasurer in training at $18 per hour. She will begin on August 3.

Inspection report

KLM Engineering of Woodbury, Minn. gave a report on the recent water tower inspection and needed repairs.

The water tower was constructed in 1979. Based on the inspection data, the report stated some miscellaneous structure modifications and repairs are required to bring the tank into compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) standards. The cost for structural repairs and replacing the interior and exterior coating, including the containment and removal of the lead-based paint, is estimated between $420,000 and $450,000 and does not include costs for engineering and/or inspection services.

Shawn Mulhern from KLM said if the village decides to hire KLM for the project, KLM would draw up the plans and specifications for the project using a project engineer certified for Wisconsin. He said if the village wanted to do the project through its engineering firm, MSA Professional Services, KLM does a lot of projects with MSA, which is one of KLM’s engineering partners. In that case, Mulhern said, MSA would write the specifications, get grant funding for the project, hire the contractor, do the pay requests and so on while KLM would provide the third-party inspections to make sure the work is being done according to the specifications.

“We help them write the specs and they bid it out,” Mulhern said. “Then we become engaged again when the tank is drained and the contractor shows up. We do a couple spot checks on their welding for all the welding repairs and then when it comes to the painting part of it when they’re [sand]blasting and painting every day, that’s when we’re there with a resident inspector to make sure they’re not painting in the rain or high humidities or mixing the paint wrong or that the temperature of the steel is too hot, things like that. We have a whole bunch of criteria we have our inspector do on a daily basis.”

While he said there is no immediate rush to do the repairs, Mulhern recommended the work be done within the next five years. He said if the village goes beyond that, issues begin to start with the structural integrity of the tower, water quality, and other more damaging issues which will make the cost of the project more expensive.

Van Hecker said one of the things the board should consider is that the cost of borrowing more is less expensive now than it would be in five years. “The interest is very low now compared to what it normally has been. We don’t have to wait five years. We could do it quicker, not that I’m not saying we should.”

Mulhern added the estimate was in today’s prices and each year the village waited, it could figure on adding another 5 percent to the cost. “Maybe in five years it comes in at this price, we don’t know, but at least you’ll have enough budgeted and won’t have to go back and try to get more funding.” He said KLM does a lot of re-cost estimating a year before their clients get the money so they will have a better idea of what they’ll actually need.

One of the items the report recommended installing in the tank is a submersible mixer to reduce the likelihood and magnitude of ice formation in cold weather and to prevent stratification in warm weather to improve water quality and reduce the necessity of chemical additives such as chlorine.

Mulhern said in the fall, like a lake, the water in the tank will turn over with the surface water going to the bottom and the bottom water coming to the top. He said a mixer pushes the water up and around so that it completely circulates once every 24 hours. “So in the summer months, you can have 78 degrees at the top by the overflow level and 50- or 52-degree water down by the outlet pipe.” Mulhern said circulating the water prevents bacteria from forming in the warm upper water level and reduces the amount of chlorine needed.

Mulhern said the mixer will also mitigate the amount of ice that builds up. He said there is still going to be some ice because the tank is uninsulated, but the mixer will help prevent the formation of an ice cap on top of the water, which can cause structural damage to the tank.

Olson added since the water tower is constantly moving up and down, the ice rubs against the coating on the inside of the tank. The mixer would help slow down the deterioration of the coating.

Van Hecker suggested the village have the mixer installed now instead of waiting until they do recondition work on the tank. Mulhern said the cost of installing the mixer would be $15,900 installed and payment could be spread out over two years. He said the village would have to hire its own licensed electrician to complete the electrical connections, which would be an additional expense.

Van Hecker asked if the village does decide to install the mixer now, how long of a lead time would KLM need to do the work. Mulhern said it’s not a long process since the mixer can be installed through the cover in the top of the tank and the tank doesn’t have to be drained to install it. He said the sooner the village calls, the sooner KLM can schedule the work. Mulhern said, ideally, they would like to piggyback the work onto other mixer installation jobs they have in the area.

Since purchasing the mixer was not on the agenda, the board will put it on the agenda for a future meeting.