Mayer council revisits park restroom project

By Lorrie Ham

The Mayer City Council dealt with several issues regarding Old Schoolhouse Park at its May 28 meeting. The city’s park commission recently requested council members to provide issues and concerns in writing regarding the construction of restrooms at the park.
At an earlier meeting this year, a park board proposal to accept a quote of $55,000 to fund the restroom project failed at the city council level on a split 2-2 vote with one council member absent. In making the request for written concerns, the park commission said it “feels strongly” about the restrooms and wanted to provide any information the council needed to vote in favor of the project.
Councilmember Erick Boder said he was not in favor of the restrooms due to the lack of support from community members. Councilmember Bruce Osborn said he tended to agree with Boder.
“People want to keep their taxes low,” Osborn said. “They don’t see the need.”
Acting Mayor Tice Stieve-McPadden, who is also the liaison to the park commission, explained that the money for the project was in the park improvement fund and that the restrooms had been on the city’s capital improvement plan for several years.
Councilmember Daniel Lueth said he had also heard from community members opposed to the project. Boder asked if the council could have a joint meeting with the park commission.
“We’ve been there, done that,” said Stieve-McPadden. “This request (for written comments) was a solution to busy schedules . . . The park board believes the restrooms are a necessity and a public service.”
New Park Commissioner Chad Bloom was also at the meeting.
“We want to make the city better,” he said. “We would rather spend our time working on things that we can get done.” If the city doesn’t want the restrooms, Bloom said the project should be taken off the capital improvement plan. “We want to deliver results,” he added.
The park commission asked for council member comments prior to the group’s June 11 meeting.
In another park matter, the council approved a quote of $1,825 to Century Fence to repair the fence around the baseball field. The council approved another $1,500 for installation of safety fence by the dugouts. The $1,500 will be covered by a donation from the Mayer Baseball Club.
The council also approved the planting of 14 evergreen trees to be placed around the fence at Old Schoolhouse Park. Due to limited lot size, two businesses in the downtown district that underwent expansions met the city code’s landscaping requirements by having trees planted in a city park.
In other business, the council:
• approved an agreement with property owner Joel Vinkemeier to create wetlands and solve stormwater issues. The agreement gives the city the necessary easement for the project. While some council members felt Vinkemeier was getting too good of a deal, City Engineer David Martini reassured them that even though the property owner was getting a good deal, it was not at the expense of the city.
“I don’t think this is a bad deal for the city,” added Stieve-McPadden.
• raised the Community Center Rental Deposit from $50 to $100 and made the deposit non-refundable.
• approved a 2 percent increase in the building inspection fee contract with Metro West. Building Inspections. Administrator Luayn Murphy noted that this was the only request from Metro West for an increase since 2009 when the city started contracting with the company. The city’s permit fees will not be increased as a result, she added.
• approved per diem pay for Senior Commission members and re-delegated the Electronic Sign Committee’s duties to another board.
• reviewed the city’s quarterly financial reports.
“The city is in a good financial state,” reported Administrator Murphy.