City will seek noise solution through sound studySound escaping the New Richmond Sports Center continues to be an issue for neighbors.
Sound escaping the New Richmond Sports Center continues to be an issue for neighbors.
So the New Richmond City Council voted Monday to spend up to $7,000 on a noise control study in an effort to put the ongoing controversy to rest.
Alderman Jim Zajkowski balked at the price tag for the proposed report from sound engineers.
“It seems a little bit steep,” he said.
But Alderman Fred Horne said it might be a good idea to have an outside, independent organization complete the study so that no one could claim the results are biased.
“There’s a lot of fingerpointing,” Horne said. “The way I look at it is we should have an outside party come in.”
Horne said he hoped to see the eventual bid winner establish a reading for an “acceptable level” of noise for a sports arena.
When the topic was discussed at a meeting of the finance committee earlier in the evening, emotions ran high.
Zajkowski said he didn’t appreciate it that Alderperson Jane Hansen’s husband called him early on a Saturday morning to lodge a complaint about noise at the Sports Center. He called the intrusiveness “harassment.”
“It’s OK for me to be woken up and not you,” Alderperson Hansen responded.
When the committee wondered about how to proceed, New Richmond Youth Hockey Association President Mary Jo Hansen urged the city to move the controversy to some resolution.
“Enough’s enough,” she said. “This has dragged on long enough. We’re frustrated by having police at our building every day.”
Mary Jo Hansen said the sound system is currently set at half its original volume. She said she doesn’t understand how the noise level could have been fine three years ago, but now it isn’t.
The only changes over the past five years have been new siding on the Sports Center and the moving of two speakers.
City officials said hopefully the sound study would provide possible solutions for the issue.
In other business:
• The council voted to enforce the city ordinance requiring property owners to shovel the snow from sidewalks in front of their lots. If the sidewalks aren’t shoveled, the city will do the work and put the bill on the property owner’s taxes. The council agreed to review the ordinance as it relates to sidewalks where homes are not yet constructed and sidewalks that lead to nowhere.
• The council decided to review a request from Willow Stained Glass to name the alley behind Wells Electric’s old building. The business’s owner hopes to establish a mailing address so deliveries can be made to his shop and customers can more easily find him.
• The council rejected a request from Karen Greaton, owner of Greaton Jewelers, to remove the stoplights at Knowles Avenue and Second Street. She said traffic passing her business at high speeds cause vibrations in her building and could lead to merchandise damage. She wanted stop signs placed at the intersection instead.
“I’m against taking out the stoplights,” said Police Chief Mark Samelstad. “You’re going to have traffic backing up to Fourth Street, if not further. It’s impractical to put stop signs at that intersection.”
• The council decided to seek new bids for its fuel purchases in 2009. Previous bid specifications were confusing for those bidding and more clarity was needed to compare the ultimate cost to the city.
• The council approved a correction to Warner Dock’s tax bill. The local company’s new building came onto the tax rolls this year, but the new assessor accidentally place the building on two different lots, thus doubling the business’s taxes. The resulting error totalled $16,000 in extra taxes.
• The council agreed to pay half of a $710 bill for mowing on lots now owned by Habitat for Humanity. The city mowed the lots last summer when the weeds grew too high and charged the cost to the lots. The non-profit organization didn’t own the lots until mid-summer and never received notices that the land had to be mowed.
• The city will seek bids to remove and replace tile in the Civic Center lobby area. City Administrator Dennis Horner said the current tile is quite slippery during winter months and several people have already fallen as a result. Trouble is, there is asbestos in the existing flooring and that must be removed according to safety standards. The total bill could be $17,000 or so.
• The New Richmond Golf Club will establish a new “business class” membership this spring. Anyone working within the city can qualify for a resident membership and pay the lower fee.
• The council agreed to continue to work with the Government Entities Network on the future use of the middle school property. The New Richmond School Board has indicated it wants to retain ownership of the property for three to five years after ending use of the building as a school, Zajkowski reported. The hope is that a regional library will still be located in that spot in the future.
• The city is looking to divide its 18-acre commercial property north of Wal-Mart into smaller lots, and then marketing those smaller lots for sale to developers.