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New pull track may soon be a reality in Hammond

The village owns seven acres in the industrial park between Loparex’s second building and the village holding ponds, just off Ridgeway. The community gardens are already there, but what if the village used the space for more than that?

That was the question Village Trustee and Hammond Lions Club member Wally Graf brought before the board at its meeting Monday, Jan. 12. He said the Lions are interested in using the space, with the village’s permission, to build a clay pulling track, for tractor pulls and the like.

The Lions were planning to put new clay on the current track, Graf said, but would prefer to move its location for various reasons. Those reasons include the fact that the village dumps snow on the current track, bringing with it debris and little rocks, which get stuck in the tires of pullers; and the limitations of having four property owners involved (the school district, the village and two private owners).

Graf said moving the track to the industrial park would also get it somewhat away from the residential areas and the railroad tracks, plus provide the Lions with project opportunities in the future.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to do something to help the village without using taxpayer money,” Graf said. “It could foster future projects for the Lions.”

Graf said building a new track may help the village find a niche in the celebration circuit, while drawing new participants to the already popular event.

Future projects or events the land could host were suggested by other board members, such as a shelter, restrooms, more park space, a carnival, snowmobile races and soccer or T-ball fields for the Parks and Rec leagues.

Graf said the spot would be difficult to develop due to its low-lying nature and proximity to a waterway. Trustee Lynn Pabst agreed, saying if the land is just sitting there and an adequate site plan to maximize use is developed, then he thought it was a great idea.

The board voted unanimously to allow Graf to meet with village engineer Greg Adams to develop site plan ideas and bring them back to the board.

Library parking

Graf also opened a discussion on the possibility of grading and repaving the parking lot on the north side of the Hammond Community Library in conjunction with the Davis Street project.

According to preliminary plans for the library renovation, an elevator will be installed on the north side of the building.

Graf suggested possibly adding parking spaces to that side of the building, including handicapped accessible spots. It may also alleviate the flooding issues that occur in the spring when the piled up snow from the village street melts, Graf said. The water from the new parking lot could then be directed into the storm sewer, easing flooding concerns for neighbors east of the library.

He estimated the space to be 44 by 95-feet, which could fit quite a few spaces, he said. The board voted to bring the issue before the planning commission at its Jan. 14 meeting.

Village board pay

Village board members may move to being paid a yearly salary instead of per meeting due to a suggestion by Pabst. Graf and Pabst both noted that in many other municipalities, board members are paid a yearly salary instead of by the meeting, which would make setting a budget easier and also possibly spend less taxpayer money.

Board members agreed they don’t serve on the board to make money. If this move is made, board members would not receive extra pay for attending special meetings or committee meetings. They agreed to look at the idea again closer to budget time next fall. If enacted, the new salaries would not go into effect until those elected in Spring 2016 take office, according to village attorney Tim Scott.

Other business

  •  The board unanimously approved to pay Police Chief Rick Coltrain $1,000 for his service as the village’s emergency management director. The sum is paid annually.
  •  The board gave Coltrain the go ahead to begin seeking bids on the police department’s 2008 Crown Victoria squad car, which has recently been replaced by a Ford Explorer squad.
  •  The board unanimously approved a letter to the editor to be submitted to the New Richmond News and the Central St. Croix News concerning the village’s stand on allegations in recent letters to the editor of unprofessional conduct by Coltrain. The letter will also go in Coltrain’s personnel file and the monthly village newsletter.
  •  Village president Tony Bibeau gave the board an update on building lease negotiations with United Fire.
  •  The board voted to invite its insurance representative to the March 23 board meeting to discuss special event applications/insurance for events.
  •  The board unanimously approved a police department expenditure request to purchase new equipment for the Ford Explorer squad in the amount of $2,780.24. Coltrain said $1,000 of that cost will be reimbursed from a grant to be awarded. The siren and radio from the Crown Victoria will be transferred to the new squad.
  •  The board went into closed session to discuss police department employee reviews.
Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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