Traer Council approves Taylor Park shelter rebuild

Pictured at the May 3 Traer City Council are council members Trish Kennedy and James Erhardt, Mayor Pete Holden, and council member Laurie Schafer. Darvin Graham/NT Telegraph

During their regular meeting on May 3, the Traer City Council accepted a bid from True Builders Excavating, LLC of Traer for the construction of a shelter house in Taylor Park.

The new structure will replace the shelter house that was severely damaged last August in the derecho wind storm.

The bid of $96,500 was under the $145,000 estimate given to the city from their insurance company following the natural disaster and was the only bid submitted.

City clerk Haley Blaine told the council several requests were sent to contractors seeking bids but the message she was hearing was that most contractors were still busy completing other derecho-related projects and were unable to take on more work.

The council agreed that proceeding forward with the bid from True Builders was in the best interest of the city given the season where the shelter sees the most use had already begun.

According to the bid proposal submitted by True Builders, construction for the project would look to begin in June with approximately one month needed to complete the build.

Once complete, the new shelter house will again be available for the public to rent out for gatherings.

In other business…

The council discussed the possibility of expanding the city ordinance to allow recreational use of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) in city limits. Currently only golf carts and utility terrain vehicles (UTV) are allowed to travel city streets. The group decided to table the matter and will seek out guidance from the sheriff’s office before making any decisions.

Ned Vaughn was before the council to speak to the group about the need for additional gravel on the pathway at Wilson Reserve prairie. Vaughn, a long-time volunteer who assists the city with upkeep at the Wilson Reserve, said prairie grass has grown into the edges of the pathway and that additional rock would be needed to keep the path from narrowing further. The council agreed to direct the public works department to add gravel as requested.

Council member Laurie Schafer addressed the council during her report regarding mosquito spraying through residential areas in the late spring and summer. Schafer said she was concerned about the chemicals present in the routine aerial spraying that typically occurs every Thursday night in Traer from May through Sept.

An alternative Schafer encouraged the council to consider was the use of Purple Martin bird houses to encourage nesting of the Purple Martin birds that sometimes consume mosquitos.

During the clerk’s report, Blaine informed the council that newly acquired city building inspector Neil O’Brien will be headed to training that would allow him to conduct inspections for more complex building projects.

According to Blaine, there is a home owner in Traer that would like to convert a room with a vaulted ceiling into two floors, but that a building inspector is needed to sign off on the project.

O’Brien recently replaced former Traer building inspector John Novak.

Recreation Chair member Trish Kennedy updated the council on the difficulty the city pool is having in recruiting and hiring a manager for the upcoming season. Kennedy said it was particularly unusual to have the position remain vacant for as long as it has.

Initial plans are to open the pool around Memorial Day, though no official opening date has been set for 2021. Those interested in the summer pool manager position are encouraged to contact the city office with questions or to fill out an application.