Mayer council flushes plans for park restrooms

By Emily Hedges

For the second time, the Mayer City Council has said no to bathrooms in Old Schoolhouse Park. During the April 8 regular meeting, the Park Board recommendation was defeated by a three to two vote (Tice Stieve-McPadden and Mayer Mike Dodge voting yes; Bruce Osborn, Daniel Lueth and Erick Boder voting no).
At the last council meeting, the same resolution was defeated by a two to two vote. Because Boder was not in attendance, members decided to bring it back, which would give the Park Board time to address some of the concerns raised during the discussion. However, the additional time and member didn’t help.
“This is the hardest choice I’ve had in front of me,” said Boder. “I’ve always been a supporter of our Boards and have done what they want us to do, but I haven’t talked to one person who said vote for that. It’s too much money for bathrooms. I’m torn.”
Breyer Construction submitted the lowest quote at $55,000 for construction of bathrooms similar to the ones they constructed in Green Isle’s city park. Shawn Dalchow estimated it would cost an additional $2,500 for installation of sewer and water services to the restroom.
Osborn was concerned with the location selected for the structure and some of its design features. Lueth was troubled by some of the logistical details to make it useful for residents throughout the day.
“I don’t know what else to say to you guys. This Park Board is driven and has done it’s homework. The money is there. The facility is needed. We spend $580 a year on port-a-pots,” said McPadden. “That park is jam packed full of people and kids.”
Fellow Park Board Member Liz Butterfield said she believes residents who don’t support the restrooms may be misinformed about where the money is coming from.
“The last thing we want to do is raise taxes. Taxes are not going up. This is about the Park Board completing a goal and providing an amenity for residents. We made sure the money was in the 220 fund,” said Butterfield. “We have money for this and it didn’t come from taxpayers.”
In other business, the Council:
• Approved a not-to-exceed amount of $131,250 for engineering costs leading up to the bidding phase for the roundabout at Co. Rd. 92 and 62nd Street.
• Heard Blake Ziermann, 14, report on his wood duck house installed on city property. When the council approved Blake’s request last July to install the house at the corner of Co. Rd. 25 and Co. Rd. 30, one of the conditions was that he report back to the city on his project. While a wood duck has yet to call it home, Ziermann says he is optimistic.
• Approved changes to the city’s sign ordinance based on recommendations from the Planning Commission. Changes are based on former standards, a League of Minnesota Cities example and case law. The minor changes will make it easier on local businesses to meet requirements.
• Recognized the article featuring the Mayer Moxie program that ran in Healthy Living Carver County magazine; and the ad in Minnesota Monthly promoting Mayer’s trailhead.
• Set April 22 as the next council work session. Work sessions typically follow the second council meeting of the month, but conflicts with member schedules have recently put them on hold.