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Somerset Village Board considers landfill park

The Somerset Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, began with a short update about the proposed park at the former landfill.

Lenny Germain, Somerset Town supervisor, helped coordinate a recent meeting at the site between members of the town, village, Department of Natural Resources, Somerset Fire/Rescue and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. He provided the village board members with a recap of the meeting.

"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife is very interested in working with the village and township to bring back the prairie," Germain said.

The proposed project would entail using at least 10 of the total 50 acres to restore prairie habitat. To do so, they anticipate having to burn some brush, remove some trees and plant seeds. The project is estimated to take three years.

Germain said as long as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service approve the process, they would provide 100 percent reimbursement up to $25,000.

Jeff Johnson, village president, also attended the site meeting last week and encouraged the board to think about entering into the 10-year contract.

"They get the position of steward of the property and we get a nice piece of property restored to its virgin landscape," Johnson said.

Johnson said no permanent structures would be erected and hunting would be allowed.

"I don't see it costing the taxpayers any money, so I'm all for it," Germain commented.

Johnson said representatives of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will attend the joint meeting between the Town and Village of Somerset to answer any questions. The meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the Town Hall at 7 p.m.

In other news:

• Board member Ryan Sicard said the public works committee drafted an updated parking ordinance for the board's review. He said the current one was more than 20 years old. The board will discuss the changes at next month's meeting.

• Sicard also said the village received a $16,105.82 grant for Arnold Street from the MSIP Committee at the St. Croix County Highway Department. However, Sicard said that as the grant would cover only a small percentage of the project cost, they may not be able to get to it until 2011.

• The board approved the $1,000 purchase of five iPhones for the full-time police officers and one Samsung for the part-time officer. They also switched services from Nextel to AT&T.

• The board approved the contract for SEH to do an impact fee study for the village.

• The board agreed to table the Public Works and Public Safety contracts agenda item due to interpretation issues within the employee handbook.

The Village of Somerset board meetings are the third Tuesday of each month at 7 pm. in the Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend.