This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A couple more meetings

The Drainage Board met Monday afternoon and though it had a lot on its agenda, none of it was as interesting as the things not on the agenda.

One farmer wanted a tile from a culvert to a ditch, but because it was on his land, the Board said it was not something they could do. He said that he has had water issues ever since he bought the land three years ago and this year suffered a major loss of crop. He was told that he could get informal agreement among his neighbors to put in the tile or he could start a petition to bring the matter to the Drainage Board.

The City of Rensselaer received and OK to cross the Yeoman Ditch and the King Lawler Tile when they put in the watermain to I-65. They will drill the line five feet below each of these drainage conduits. Preliminary drainage plans for the Remington Water Treatment Plant had been discussed at the last Drainage Board meeting and they were approved at the July meeting.

The attorney for the Drainage Board had been asked to review bids that had been received for work on the Price Tile and he recommended going with the low bid, which the Board approved. The Board set their September meeting (the day after Labor Day) for the public hearings for the Gowland Tile #179 and the Louis B Nagel Ditch. Someone wanted to clean his part of the Fred Tyler Ditch and wanted to know if the County would help. The answer was, "No," but it may be willing to do the entire ditch if the landowners want that.

Three farmers expressed concern about the growing number of farm ponds that are created by damming water and impounding it with embankments. These ponds with water levels above ground level downstream are not lowered between rains as a detention pond is. As a result, when there is rain, they push water downstream with pressure and cause problems for farmers who receive the water. After discussion, the Board agreed to look at the issue in a future meeting after researching what the relevant state laws and county ordinances might be.

Finally, the issue of who should sign contracts came up. Should the county surveyor or the Drainage Board be signing contracts? After discussion, the Board voted to have the Surveyor sign contracts of less than $5000 but others should be signed by the Board.

In the evening the Park Board met, barely having a quorum. It approved purchasing mulch for the playground in Iroquois Park, needed because the flood washed much of what had been there downriver. They also approved purchasing a new slide for Brookside Park to replace a slide that has needed constant repair.

The most interesting bit at this meeting was a report from a committee that decided that it was not a good idea to replace the soccer field in Brookside Park with two small ballfields. The fields would be too short for older ages, they would only be used about two months of the year while the soccer field and the basketball courts are used almost year round, and they would require too much of the park to be devoted to parking lot. The cost of the asphalt alone was estimated at $200,000. Instead, the committee thought that the Park Board and Park Corporation should be pursuing option with the Staddon Field site. That will require cooperation from the Rensselaer Central School Board, but there were suggestions that such cooperation might be forthcoming. They asked the only member of the public attending the meeting what he thought of this new plan and he told them that he had never liked the planned changes to Brookside Park.

The park headquarters building, shown below during the flood, had ten inches of water when the river crested.
 Below is what Iroquois Park looked like last night. After the 1.6 inches of rain Rensselaer got this morning, it may be wetter. The river is rising again and is two and a half feet higher now than it was before the rain, but hopefully it will stay in its banks.

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