by ADAM GRUENEWALD
The Cologne City Council members moved forward with several key infrastructure improvements while also taking a glimpse at a unique city attraction during its meeting on Monday, May 5.
Early discussion sparked the council’s interest for the construction of a splash pad, or community fountain play area, which could be potentially located at City Park near Fritz Field. Nicole Evenski, representing the Park Board, presented early concept designs of the fountain by Eden Prairie-based Aquatic Recreation Company.
“It’s basically a playground with water,” she said. “There’s no standing water but it has sprays that come or big umbrellas where the water trickles down. It’s a nice place to just cool off for the kids.”
Hypothetical designs include funnels, geysers, arch jets, stream jets and misting sprays as well as a recirculation system that includes a 2,000-gallon concrete vessel and 250-gallons-per-mintue filtration rates.
“The reason we choose the recirculation system is because of the water quality in Cologne,” said Evenski, comparing it to a runoff system and mentioning higher installation fees.
Evenski added that water levels would need to be checked and button timers could be installed so the water is not constantly running.
“It’s something new for the community and it gets people from outside the community in,” she said, adding closest splash pad is at Miller Park in Eden Prairie. “It’s great to have something for the kids.”
Still only in the early planning phases, Evenski proposed the concept to council members, who appeared interested in the project that would likely not include an entrance fee, could cost upwards of $100,000.
City Administrator John Hendel said he is trying to get Park Board members involved to help the city.
“I’m trying to have the park board involved and give us ideas and thoughts and concepts of things they think would be good for our community,” he said. “Either for our residents here or to bring people outside to come for a day, for a weekend or for a lifetime.”
Hendel added it also serves as an alternative to a community pool project and serve as a “big bonus” for the city and downtown.
“I think it would be a good add for the city,” said Mayor Matt Lein.
Council member Scott Williams agreed.
“I think it’s a great concept,” he said. “If you put something like that in, you’re going to draw. You’re going to draw people from Waconia this way because they don’t really have anything like that.”
Council member Jeff McInnis also voiced his approval.
“If we’re looking at boosters for driving people coming into the city and maybe wanted to stay, there’s a lot of things here, trails, ponds and the school,” he said. “I can see that being a boost for having kids and people come here because it’s very centrally located.”
It was agreed to have the park board look into funding sources and donations as well as potentially having the Aquatic Recreation Company present a formal proposal.
Also, council members approved a policy and blanket replacement program for 129 road signs in the city at a cost of $3,487.22.
The replacements are required to comply with Federal Highway Administration, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Carver County requirements regarding retroreflectivity, or visibility, of signs.
“The road signs that we have within our town, we are required to create a plan to replace them and create a plan to upkeep them,” said Hendel, adding street name signs are not required.
Saving some expenses, the city is not required to replace signs approaching Highway 284 and County Road 36,
New signs, at high intensity prismatic levels, will be installed over the summer and will include stickers notating the install date. The expected lifetime of signs is projected at 10 years.
Council members considered creating a special budget item, but Hendel advised they instead better fund the maintenance portion of the budget to be better equipped in the future for unplanned projects.
In other news, council members approved the purchase of eight computers (two of which are paid for by the Fire Department and Relief Association) for $4,799.04 from TechStar; agreed to support the 6th annual Firehouse Drive-In on Aug. 15-16; OK’d a purchase of a $4,500 handheld water meter from HD Supply; and moved forward with a $36,969 roofing project by Vos Construction for the Public Works building.
The building was purchased by the city in 2002 at a discounted price that factored in roof quality, with the city gaining control of it in 2003.
Hendel said a decision will be made on assessing moisture damage to blocks to the building once the roof project starts.
“We don’t know how extensive damage is,” said Lein. “It could be light damage or it could be heavy damage. Nobody will really know until that roof starts coming off.”
The Cologne City Council will next meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 19. It was noted that the council will likely switch to one meeting per month during the summer, potentially slated for June 16, July 21 and Aug. 18.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.