Residents make waves over Splash Pad

By: 
ABE WINTER
Star Staff Writer

The Splash Pad that probably will be added to the city’s list of youth activities is a great idea, but maybe not in Wibaux Park.
At least that was the gist of comments made by two city residents at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting.
Both Amber Trenka and Kelly Klem spoke in favor of the pad — a playground feature that squirts water — but not in Wibaux Park as proposed.
“I’m in total support, but I believe we need to back up and look at a few tentative problems,” Trenka said. “Is it too large for this project?”
She then discussed parking and traffic flow problems on nearby streets — Strevel, Winchester and Pearl.
“I applaud the committee,” she added. “My main concern is the traffic.”
The “committee” is Milestown Community Improvement, Inc., which has raised more than $300,000 toward the $750,000 project.
“I do feel Wibaux Park is a poor location,” said Klem, who drove to several other sites that he would prefer, such as Riverside, Bender and Milwaukee parks. “All of those have better parking and access without improvements being necessary.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea. I just feel this feature is in the wrong place.”
Later, Scott Gray, public works director, commented on the Splash Pad’s projected site.
“Really, there are traffic issues, but it’s something that can be resolved,” he said, adding that the need to install plumbing and bathrooms at other possible locations would prove too costly.
Also, Gray said, the addition of the Splash Pad would complement the current Frog Pool that is for children ages 6 and under.
“It creates a family atmosphere,” he said.
Another issue would be he fact that Riverside allows alcohol and Wibaux does not.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, long-time public utilities director Allen Kelm submitted his letter of resignation.
Kelm, noting that it was “with mixed emotions” that he resigns, will finish out the year and also offered to train his replacement.
He thanked the city and drew applause from Mayor John Hollowell, the Council members and those in attendance at the meeting.
Samantha Malenovsky, floodplain administrator, followed up on her previous announcement of the seeking of a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant of $100,000 this year with hopes of applying for up to $10 million next year.
The $100,000 would be for the planning of a project which would include either slough revitalization; upsizing storm sewer lines to drain underpasses correctly; upsizing the sewer main from the Main Street Bridge to Montana Street, or protection of critical infrastructure.
In a quick vote among Council members, the slough received 3.5 votes and the critical infrastructure facilities got 1.5.
“The slough, that would be my vote,” Council member Susanne Galbraith said.
“The sooner the better,” Malenovsky said when asked about the timeline of the grant request. “The sooner I know the sooner I can get cost estimates from engineers.”
(Contact Abe Winter at starcity@midrivers.com or 406-234-0450.)

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