EDMORE — The Edmore Village Council has changed its tune about unsafe playground equipment in the village park.
At the April 14 village council meeting, Village Manager Neil Rankin provided a lengthy list of concerns, accompanied with photographs about safety issues at the Glenn D. Curtis Memorial Park, located at 307 E. Forrest St.
Rankin proposed removing the unsafe playground equipment and working toward creating an open play area. His proposed new design would incorporate the remaining safe playground equipment into two islands, where fall protection and new equipment would be installed to meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
As part of his plan Rankin had already asked the Glenn D. & Nita Curtis Foundation to consider funding new playground equipment for the park, as well as fund a master plan for the park to incorporate the park with the rest of the village trail and other recreational amenities to facilitate village grant applications as they become available in the future.
The council voted 3-4 for Rankin’s proposed resolution to remove the dangerous playground equipment, meaning the motion failed.
However, officials with the Curtis Foundation were paying attention to Rankin’s proposal.
At the May 12 village council meeting, Curtis Foundation Chairwoman Bonnie Davis announced a series of major donations to the park. The foundation approved $30,000 for new playground equipment, $25,000 for new restrooms (contingent upon inspection and approval of designs) and $2,500 toward a master plan for the park.
“I know there are people in this town that do not see the need for new (playground) equipment,” Davis said. “They say, ‘when we were kids’ or when my kids played there 10 years ago’ … well, I’m sure that they did and so did I. But those things are worn out or gone now and it’s time for a change. I would hope that the council would have a vision to make our park more beautiful and a fun place and not be influenced by the negative people in the area who do not want to see things made better or have a personal agenda.”
The Curtis Foundation is hoping the village council will approve matching the $2,500 donation for the master plan so the village will have a total of $5,000 to work with.
“Once the master plan is completed, our park could be safer and more beautiful,” Davis said. “If we do not have a master plan, we will not be eligible for any other grants.”
Village President Chet Guild, who voted against the park proposal at last month’s meeting, said no one on the council wants to see anyone injured at the park.
“The article that went into The Daily News was kind of exaggerated,” Guild said. “There’s nobody here that wants to see one kid down there get hurt. There’s nobody here that doesn’t want to see new playground equipment at that park.”
The village council then unanimously approved Rankin’s resolution, with an addition stipulating that the park committee be involved with all decisions. The council also approved matching the Curtis Foundation’s $2,500 donation for a master plan for the park.
Finance Director Tracy Clark said the park will be eligible for more grants after a master plan is created, including possible grants to fund new park restrooms.
“The Curtis Park is named in honor (of Glenn and Nita Curtis) for all that they have done for the community,” Clark said. “It’s their concern that they want to keep the park as beautiful and as up to date as they can. It’s important to them that we keep the bathrooms and playground equipment up to speed there.”
In other matters …
Also at the May 12 meeting, the Edmore Village Council:
• Voted 3-4 to contract with Utility Services for a water tower renovation project, meaning the motion failed. Ed Adams, Chuck Burr, Chet Guild and Jerry Rasmussen all voted “no.”
• Heard a business workshop will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. June 20 in Edmore to promote the village’s economic development loan fund.
• Approved giving wage raises to three employees based on the personnel committee’s recommendation.
• Approved appointing Ryan Vanderveen to fill a DDA vacancy.
• Approved the DDA manager entering into a small business solutions agreement.
• Voted 3-4 to allow the DDA to construct a sidewalk at the farmers market at a cost not to exceed $2,500 to connect trail restrooms to the farmers market/old bag factory parking lot, meaning the motion failed. Adams, Burr, Karen Deja and Rasmussen all voted “no.”
• Approved six DDA trashcans for the downtown.
• Approved up to $1,800 for the DDA to finish a study of the old bag factory.
• Approved having the park committee obtain bids for the cost of constructing a new restroom in the park.
• Scheduled a special meeting for 3 p.m. Friday, May 30, to further consider the water tower project and park restrooms.