Goessel Public Works Director Honored

The Goessel city council met on Nov. 21, and council member Dean Snelling presented a plaque to public works director Karen Dalke for the 15 years that she has already worked for the city of Goessel. As she continues to work for the city, Snelling wished to affirm her for the work she does. Dalke responded that when she came to work at Goessel, she decided that she would “treat this town like I do my own property.” She commented that she appreciates working with city clerk Jennifer Bliss.

Dalke suggested that the city could improve the front of the city building. “Asphalting the parking lot would be a nice addition for our community.” She noted that the current rock surface is difficult for people with walkers and wheelchairs. Bliss agreed: “A lot of them struggle with the rocks.” Dalke noted that “Our building is paid for.” Mayor Ben Schmidt reminded the council that the building is a voting center and would be the storm command center for FEMA if there would be a disaster.

Turning their attention to another matter, the council listened to Keith Banman speak about the Mennonite Disaster Service cabinet shop near the east end of Main Street; it has been in operation for a few months. Banman said that volunteers at the cabinet shop make kitchen cabinets to ship to areas that have had a disaster, such as flooding or hurricanes. Almost 40 volunteers have helped since the MDS shop opened. He said the shop operates 100 percent with volunteers and 100 percent with donations. Banman said the MDS project started with two semi-loads of plywood that were donated. He said they are out of storage space and asked for a variance for storage that would be on the back side of the MDS building.

Schmidt commended the MDS effort: “I definitely like what MDS is doing.” The council granted a one-year variance for storage. They will consider the issue again in a year.

The MDS shop has shipped cabinets to Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Louisiana, and Virginia. A Mennonite trucker from Oklahoma volunteers to deliver the cabinets at his own expense.

In other business, the council:

* also granted a variance to Funk Electric for two job trailers to come and go. They would not be parked permanently. Kyle Funk of Funk Electric was at the meeting to present the plan. He said the storage trailers are painted like the building.

* heard a suggestion from Dalke to start thinking about a new building at the city park for events. Schmidt agreed, noting that “Right now, we just have this room” (the community room in the city building). The community room can hold 50 people, and there is not much play equipment for children, only a set of swings. A larger space could accommodate larger groups and provide more outside play space for children.

* talked about Christmas lights and the offer of a $100 gift card and a $50 gift card to Goessel Grocery and Deli for the winners.

* discussed nuisance properties. Some property owners have been making an effort to make improvements, but others have done nothing.

* heard from Bliss about efforts to update the siren system.

* heard from Dalke that the state requires cities to “exercise” the water valves; she has been digging up valves to exercise them. She had to rent a jackhammer.

* changed the time of the Dec. 19 council meeting to 5 p.m. to accommodate those who have children in the elementary school Christmas program that evening.

* noted that the January meeting will be on the second Monday of the month (instead of the usual third Monday) because of state law. That meeting will be Monday, Jan. 9, at the usual 6 p.m. time.

* changed the February meeting to Tuesday, Feb. 21.

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