The Milbank City Council held its regular meeting on June 8. The in-person meeting was held in the Milbank Community Room and was the first of its kind in several months.
Bobbie Bohlen, executive director of the Grant County Development Corporation (GCDC), expounded on the proposed expansion of the industrial park. According to Bohlen, she frequently receives requests from area businesses wanting to expand and businesses potentially interested in relocating to Milbank.
Currently, four small lots remain in the industrial park and the largest one is only two and one-half acres. In 2019, the city teamed up with GCDC to hire the Sioux Falls engineering firm ISG to explore ways to expand the park. ISG recommended the purchase of 47 acres of land to the west of the industrial park. The 47 acres include 38 buildable acres, which would be annexed in to the City of Milbank.
The project is estimated to cost about $3 million, which would include the purchase of the land, defining of streets, and the addition of water and sewer lines. The new development would include holding ponds in the southwest corner to alleviate the chronic drainage problem.
Bohlen said the project was more than the GCDC was comfortable taking on alone, but the group was recently notified of grants available from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) that could cover 80 percent of the cost of the project. EDA has funds because of COVID-19, a way for the Federal government to help rural communities. She stated, “This new development is a way for us to help businesses and a way for us to grow.” Bohlen asked the council to consider including $200,000 in both the 2021 and 2022 budgets for the project. She said the GCDC would contribute $400,000. Bohlen clarified that the project is dependent upon the approval of the EDA grant.
The mayor announced the appointment of nine members to the newly created park and recreation board of Unity Square. Keith Weber, Steve Wenzl, and Heidi Wellnitz will begin two-year terms. Eval Marroquin, Brian Pauli, and Jody Bear will serve three-year terms. Rondi Scoular, Brian Sandvig and Matt Wilson will serve four-year terms. The board plans to meet informally in June and in July will will take over in their official capacity.
Unity Square recently began offering more access to the public. During the COVID closure, new carpet and baseboards were installed and the pool floor was cleaned
The council authorized the mayor and the city attorney to sign the CARES Act grant agreement. The grant will provide $20,000 to be used for operations at the Milbank Airport. The funds are to be used in the next four years and are not intended for the replacement of equipment or construction. According to John Forman, administrator for the City of Milbank, state inspectors were at the airport in early April and found no discrepancies there. Forman said, “They all said it looked great.”
During the airport report, it was determined the fuel terminal software at the airport is obsolete and will no longer be serviced after June 30. The board approved a new fuel management system to be purchased from Sioux Equipment in Sioux Falls. Forman said other airports gave only positive reviews of the system.
The transfer of the off-sale liquor license held by Scott and Pamela Jackson of Midtown Liquors was discussed, but required a special meeting. Councilman James Johnson was absent from the regular meeting and councilman Scott Hoeke was unable to vote as he is a principal in the business acquiring the license. The council scheduled the special meeting for Wednesday June 10, at 5 p.m. The license is now held by DCDS, LLC, dba Cocktails and Corks. The South Dakota malt beverage and wine license held by Comes Investsments, dba Pizza Hut was also renewed.
The board heard the proposal for a perpetual care maintenance agreement with Maguire Iron. The 10-year perpetual maintenance/service contract would be for all Milbank water towers, including the blue above and below-ground water storage tanks on the west side of Milbank and the elevated tower on the east side of Milbank by the high school. The proposal is for inspections, cleaning, and painting of the inside and outside. Another company is expected to submit a proposal before the final decision is made.
The council voted to open all city parks to all recreational activities as long as CDC guidelines are followed. Picnic tables will be spread out in the parks and restrooms will be opened. Lake Farley campground will be open, but long-term reservations will be limited to 30 days.
The council approved permits for the following events to be held in the park this summer: It Only Takes A Spark Luminary No Contact Drive-Through on July 24; the July Fourth fireworks display; Farley Fest on July 31 and August 1; and the Avera 5K Hope Run on August 1.
Milbank Police Chief Boyd VanVooren presented a map of the streets and sidewalks near the new elementary school. VanVooren pointed out ninth street as a highly traveled street and an area of concern.
The council voted to install two new blocks of sidewalks from Summit to Park and Ninth Street to Viola. Once the path the students take to and from school is more apparent, sidewalks will be added for their safety.
Resolution 5-11-20A from the May meeting was revisited and amended to include just the removal of the east and west stop signs at the intersection of Tenth Avenue and Washington Drive. The amended resolution 6-8-20A died due to the lack of a second moti0n. Resolution 6-8-20 was approved to vacate the public utility easement that runs between Charles Avenue and 4th Avenue in Block 4 at the location of the former S & D OneStop.
The council voted to reopen the Milbank Visitors Center and the offices within, including the city office, Milbank Chamber of Commerce, and Grant County Development offices on Wednesday June 10. Shields for the front counter have been installed and hand sanitizer has been ordered for the main enterance. The mayor encourages people to continue to use the drop box for bill paying. The decision was made to keep the community room closed to gatherings.
Scott Hoeke reported construction on the new baseball complex has slowed due to COVID-19, but they are getting the ball rolling again.
Milbank Fire Chief Kevin Schuelke was present to give the fire report. He stated in-house fire meetings started again in May and training is expected to continue as normal. Schuelke said the squad has been working on keeping the trucks in shape and doing repairs. Hydrants will be flushed this summer.
The council committed to a 36-month full lease agreement on a 2019 John Deere 6130 tractor. The tractor will be used for mowing and blading alleys. The council amended the grounds maintenance contract with Kelly’s Kutters for an additional $750 per month to include 1.5 acres at Lake Farley. The installation of new padlocks and/or a camera at the rubble site was discussed, but no action was taken. The council approved the sale of a 2014 Ford utility police Interceptor to Kay O’Farrell. O’Farrell entered the bid of $2,520. Yousef Debbagh submitted the only other bid at $1868.
The default of a prior agreement to keep 50 feet cleared up to the road at 600 West Milbank Avenue at a property owned by Rick Hanson was discussed. The council voted to authorize the city attorney to pursue legal action to abate the public nuisance.
The next regular meeting of the Milbank City Council is Monday July 13, at 7 p.m.