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Two boys propose Ellsworth skate park

Two young boys stood and walked to the podium when Ellsworth Village Board Chair Gerald DeWolfe called for public comment on non-agenda items at the monthly meeting Aug. 6. Anthony Madsen and Alex Pazdernik proposed the idea of building a skate park, possibly at Summit Park in an unused area by the volleyball courts. The park, modeled after Prescott's well-maintained park, would bring members of the community together and allow people of all ages to skateboard, scooter or bike, Pazdernik said.

Prescott's park was priced between about $12,000-$15,000. The boys both said they did not want to build at a price costing as much as New Richmond's skate park, which was around $132,000.

Safety would be a priority at the park, and the boys said they wanted helmets to possibly be mandatory and police would have an area to drive by and monitor activity.

Rick Sweig, trustee for the Village and chairperson for Parks, Recreation and Development Committee thanked the young men for standing up and speaking about their proposal.

"Unfortunately we're having some funding issues," Sweig said.

Sweig added despite those issues, he would like to meet Aug. 20 with the boys at the park area and discuss possible funding sources.

Other business

• The board tabled a proposal to write a letter to support the Hunger Prevention of Pierce County's purchase of property at 440 N. Maple St. DeWolfe said he wasn't sure why they needed the letter as he thought the property was under the county's jurisdiction. No one was present at the meeting from Hunger Prevention to represent the case, so the board wants more information.

"I don't have any problem with it, as long as we're not on the hook for a loan or something," trustee Neil Gulbranson said.

• A letter supporting a grant request for the Pierce County Economic Development Corporation will be written by the board. Revenue has increased by 10 percent in the past year as tourists are attracted to events Ellsworth, the Cheese Curd Capital, has to offer.

"Some people may not think of Ellsworth as a tourism community, (but we're) only scratching the surface of what's possible," Chamber Administrator Kim Beebe said

• DeWolfe said he and Village Clerk Peggy Nelson could sign an easement for an Xcel utility on Village property on the Verizon Wireless tower site on Hines property at Highway 65 / 580th Avenue intersection. The board agreed that the motion should include provision that Verizon pay ay village-incurred legal fees, which "seems reasonable", DeWolfe said.

• Operator licenses were approved for Megan Bignell, Taylor Sieling, Bailey Schingledecker, Tammy Piotraschke, Natecia Diaz.

Committee reports

• Traffic sign reading Class B vehicles only rather than no through truck traffic over 12,000 pounds was approved for Railroad Avenue and Crosstown Road.

• An existing long-term parking ordinance was approved to be tweaked by the Village Attorney, where it now applies to vehicles parked over 48 hours.

• Interviews were scheduled and some were conducted to find a Clerk-Treasurer Office Assistant and a Public Works Department employee. Nelson said she hired Angela Fisher who has some background as she works part time at the Village Hall. No start date was determined yet. She will begin working on helping with the elections coming up on Aug. 14.

• The board approved the hiring of a second person for Public Works to replace the retirement of Richard Harris, whose retirement was also approved. He served for over 30 years, DeWolfe said.

• Department heads cut the 2019 budget by 10 percent across the board from 2018.

• $50,000 Property Tax Equivalent was approved to be paid to Water Utility from General Fund.

• Finding people to step up and fill the on-call paramedic schedule has been difficult, Sweig said, and three positions need to be filled for the paramedic positions.

• A $32,000 grant was awarded to the Ambulance Operating Committee for a vehicle that will cost a total of $40,000.

• Charles Watts was approved for Retailer's License Agent change at Shopko.

• Just Ka's will have space extended for the Bradley Benefit on Sept. 22 and 23. Sunday was approved as rain date if needed.

• Blacktopping will be complete for Dar-Ray addition.

• The well house lot is not buildable but may be of interest to adjoining property owners; a joint meeting will be held to see if they are interested.

• Brad Murphy, new Public Works employee, started work Aug. 6

• New soft start and flow switch installed in well number three

• Seal coating begins Aug. 27 on South Maple, South Piety and Panther Drive

Ellsworth Library Director Tiffany Meyer said the library has seen increases in every category since June 2017.

• Three new student volunteers have started.

• A replacement was found for the assistant librarian who left for long-term travel.

• Prize drawings that support local businesses were awarded.

• A new youth services program coordinator is in charge of local outreach.