Goessel City Council OKs acquisition of old church cemetery

The Goessel City Council agreed at its Nov. 19 meeting that the city will assume ownership of the Mennonite Brethren cemetery within the boundaries of the town.

Lowell Hofer, representing the Southern District Stewardship Commission of the Mennonite Brethren Church, met with the council to discuss the small Mennonite Brethren cemetery located across the street from the city building.

Hofer said many years had passed since the Mennonite Brethren church in Goessel closed its doors and responsibility for the care of the cemetery had become unclear.

The Mennonite Brethren commission had been under the impression that they were paying someone to mow the cemetery, but there was no follow-up. Apparently, the commission sometimes paid for mowing that did not happen.

?We?d like to make it right,? Hofer said. ?We feel the cemetery would best be served if a local entity would own and maintain it.?

Hofer asked, ?What can we do to honor the people who are buried there??

When Councilor Jim Wiens asked if the city had any record of who is buried there, the suggestion was made that perhaps Peggy Goertzen, director of the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies at Tabor College, might be able to help.

It was agreed that a quick-claim deed should be filed with the county, making the city of Goessel the owner of the cemetery.

The Southern District of the Mennonite Brethren conference will give the city its fund of $1,207 that was designated for care of that cemetery. The conference will be asked to add $1,000, which the city plans to use to erect a new fence around the cemetery and for the upkeep of the grounds.

On another matter, Public Works Director Karen Dickerson said the city?s maintainer is not operating, and she is waiting for repair parts. After the repairs, she will be able to grade the city streets again.

In other business, the council:

  • heard City Clerk Anita Goertzen report that rock and sand are charged to residents according to the price the city is billed. She said the price fluctuates, and Dickerson said the price has gone up. However, the city set the price of dirt at $5 per bucket if the city delivers it.

    The council clarified that sand and rock will be sold only to Goessel residents and employees. The city will not sell to non-residents.

  • heard Dickerson report on the water tour she participated in at Abilene and Salina. She said water ?is a very serious subject? and it costs a lot of money to develop a new well.

    ?We shouldn't waste water,? she said.

    Dickerson said the class she took ?has been an eye-opener.? She brought up the subject of fire hydrants within the city that need repairs. She said a new fire hydrant costs $1,200, and it costs $800 to rebuild an existing hydrant. She said the work needs to be hired out.

  • discussed a water emergency plan for the city. ?We?ve been working on it,? Dickerson said. ?We also wrote an emergency disinfectant plan.?

  • heard Dickerson say the well house is done and is online.

  • discussed concerns at the mobile home park. Councilor Larry Schmidt said he had made five or six trips to the area to look at issues that had been brought to his attention. However, the street is privately owned and is not the city?s responsibility.

  • authorized new tires from Main Street Station for the city?s diesel truck. ?We?re going to need traction,? Dickerson said, referring to pushing snow.

  • authorized work to be done on the electrical poles. Kyle Funk will be contacted to fix the poles so Christmas lights can be installed along Main Street.

  • heard Schmidt report that the city park is ready to be winterized.

  • discussed with Councilor Larry Lindeman concerns that the burnsite has sometimes been found unlocked. Residents who use the burnsite are reminded to lock the gate.

  • discussed a valve cap that a farmer hit with a tractor. Repairs cost $31.79.

  • was informed by Goertzen that the annual fee for a storm-water drainage permit from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the Harvest Meadow housing addition will be $60.

  • appointed Dickerson to the Goessel Housing Authority.

  • heard from Mayor Peggy Jay that the grade school is working toward a grant for a storm shelter at the grade school.

  • heard Donna Duerksen?s report on the Goessel Task Force. She said a Citizens Initiative Award has been created to award creativity.

She also said the task force is starting a community calendar that Goertzen will maintain.

The task force plans to host Christmas caroling for the community Dec. 16. The group will end at the blacksmith shop for hot chocolate.

The task force is planning hayrack rides for those who would like to look at Christmas lights. They are planning a community Christmas light contest with a $50 prize. Judges have not been picked but will be from other communities.

The task force has started a letter campaign to raise money for a new highway sign.

The task force has completed a volunteer service directory.

It has also started a donor brick project. Bricks with donor names will be used to outline the water play park that the task force hopes to build.

The task force is planning a fundraiser for a water play park. ?This is going to be kid-friendly for all ages,? Duerksen said. ?We?re looking for features that are interactive.?

The task force did not receive the grant it had applied for, although Jay said she had attended a conference, along with Duerksen and Justin Schrag, in order to make connections.

?We will try again next year,? Jay said.

Jay said a facilitator from the Kansas Department of Commerce had met with the council Oct. 16. The facilitator recommended that the task force break its efforts into smaller sections and complete one project at a time.

Speaking to the issue of a water play park, Wiens suggested, ?Someone needs to sit down and see if we have water available. We need to be sure we have enough water allocated to us by the state.

?We have to see if we have the infrastructure: Can our wells pump it?? he added.

Wiens asked about disposal, too, and cautioned that the city needs to have enough water to fight fires. He suggested finding out how many gallons the city uses in a year and how many hours a day the water pumps normally run.

Dickerson responded, ?That is an issue; I think it would stress our system.?

She also said the football and baseball fields need large amounts of water. Duerksen suggested a water play park could be limited to certain hours.

Although recycled water had been considered, Duerksen said it is more involved and expensive.

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