The Greenfield City Council met April 2 to discuss a number of items including issues related to the development of the city’s park.
City Administrator Kathryne McCullum told the council that Greenfield Park Advisory Chair Victoria Dukes would be in charge of planning the city’s Arbor Day celebration, which has been an annual event for the last two years. The event was started by former Greenfield Mayor Jerry Hertaus as a way to increase awareness of the future park site and to get the ball rolling with some minor improvements. Trees have been planted, ceremoniously, on the site with city and area officials taking part.
Dukes proposed that this year the city plant two 12-foot to 14-foot Black Hills Spruce trees in the area adjacent to the future shelter (tentatively scheduled for construction this summer) to provide a wind barrier, with additional trees being added at two per year to for a wider effect.
Discussion by the council centered on what size trees the city should purchase, what kind of care would be required to get them acclimated to the site, and how many should be planted at a time.
Dukes explained that she had a personal history working with the evergreens she is proposing and felt that the larger trees would take well to the site and offer an immediate, if limited, windbreak for the picnic shelter and surrounding area. The plan to add trees yearly, she said, would increase the effect and keep costs down. The council did discuss planting up to four trees – size and type as proposed – this year, and directed staff to get quotes from area vendors for council consideration.
Arbor Day is Friday, April 26. This year’s event will begin at 11:30 a.m. The park site is located across from the city meeting hall on Town Hall Dr., on the south side of County Rd. 50.
Another sign that things are moving forward with the city’s first official park is the need for a “park ordinance.” A resolution proposing one drafted by the park advisory covered items commonly, and necessarily, addressed in overseeing public venues, but there was concern expressed by some of the council over the restrictive nature of regulations regarding permits for fires (for grills or fire rings) and alcohol, and prohibiting tobacco use on the grounds. Mayor Brad Johnson told the council that the items specifically addressed in the ordinance were there for a reason, to keep park patrons from having their enjoyment impinged upon, but did concede that the ordinance, as presented, may be more restrictive than needed.
Councilor Mike Erickson suggested that city’s attorney be consulted in regard to alcohol permits to determine what kind of action and language would best protect the city from any potential liability.
Council Mark Holten told the council that the ordinance gave the impression that it was for a children’s park. “No smoking, no drinking, no loud music.” He said the park should appeal to adults of all ages as well as to children and families.
The council did not take action on this item, but expects to revisit it at a future meeting.
Last, but not least, is the park’s name. It’s been called Greenfield Park unofficially to this point, but the park advisory would like a stamp approval on a formal name. The advisory is proposing “Greenfield Central Park” due to the park’s position in the center of the city. The majority of council found the name to be appropriate and will take action regarding the naming at a future meeting.
In other news, administrator McCullum presented a proposal to the council regarding a change in the way the city bills residents for recycling. If the council adopts the change, the city would invoice for the last two quarters of 2013 in July with a payment deadline of Aug. 15.
For 2014, the city would invoice in January for the entire year with a payment deadline of March 15. 2014 credits would be applied to 2015 recycling bills.
Staff reviewed this proposal with the city’s accountant and found that it is a common billing procedure for other cities.
Notice, and details, of this change would be communicated to residents through city newsletters beginning shortly.
This was a discussion item and no action was taken at this meeting.
In other news, Brad Johnson informed the council that talks regarding the city’s fire contract – and extensions – with the Loretto Fire Department were continuing and that factors regarding a proposed merger between the Loretto and Hamel Departments raised a lot questions he hadn’t heard answers for yet, but they could have some impact on the existing arrangement/contract.
And, lastly, there’s good news for both the city and Veolia Environmental Services. The city’s contract wastewater treatment plant operator received state recognition for efficient and effective operations in Greenfield, a nod the city has not had for several years and one the council applauded.
The next regular meeting of the Greenfield City Council is Tuesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. at 6390 Town Hall Dr.