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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

First meetings of 2017

The Rensselaer Park Board and Corporation met on Monday night even though Monday was a holiday. The main topic was the soccer program. The president and vice president of the newly reorganized Rensselaer Regional Soccer Club attended the meeting and useful discussion was held about the future of soccer in the Rensselaer parks. The Park Board had wanted to take over the soccer program and make it a park program but that will not happen for 2017. However, the soccer program is no longer connected to Saint Joseph's College and has dropped the Saint Joseph's name. The club wants to organize as a stand-along non profit.

In 2016 the Parks wanted the soccer program to pay for the cost of utilities and that issue was finally resolved when the Jasper Foundation stepped up and made a donation on their behalf. So there has been some bad history between the Park Department and the soccer program and that background came out a few times in the discussion. However, the leadership is new and they promise a new direction.

The Club wants to maintain good relations with Saint Joseph's College because they may need to use fields there. The fields on the old Monnett site are adequate for the younger kids and the smaller fields, but some of their groups need a larger field and will use the field at Brookside Park. That field may actually be getting more use than is healthy for the field--there are many games and many practices held there and it may be the most heavily used athletic field in the park system.

There was some discussion of plans to upgrade the Monnett/Staddon Fields area and if the soccer fields are improved, that would probably mean that they would be unusable for soccer for a year. That was a reason the Club gave for maintaining good relations with SJC. Also, the idea of putting ball fields inside the track at Brookside seems to be dead. The planned location for additional ball fields is now west of the tennis courts in the large field that has no real use at present.

The agreement reached was that the Park Department would by March 1 prepare a contract for renting the fields to the Soccer Club. It would require the Club to have liability insurance, pay $1500 for utilities, and provide schedules to the Park Department so facilities will be ready for the games and practices.

After the soccer discussion, the Boards re-elected and re-appointed the people to the same positions they had had in 2016. It briefly discussed some maintenance items, including new roofs on shelters.

On Tuesday morning the Commissioners met. As I was arriving at the Court House, the City was removing Santa's House from the Court House sidewalk.

The January meeting was short because the Commissioners had met after Christmas to tend to end of year matters. (I missed the meeting because I was not yet back in Rensselaer.) Mr Wakeland from Community Corrections asked for approval for the annual grant proposal to the state that pays some of the salaries. The grant is for $302K and approval was given. The new Coroner, Mrs Boersma, stopped by and her husband, the former coroner, said that in 2016 the morgue handled 67 cases. Ray Seif from the Jasper County Airport reported that the new hangar should be finished by the end of the  month. The Commissioners then made some additional appointments.

Highway Engineer Jack Haberlin said that there was another request for a buried cable permit that will be coming and that it will be for a route that is already crowded with buried utilities. The Commissioners decided that they did not want a replay of the Gangloff Tile situation so would like to have the person making the request attend a Commissioners meeting and perhaps also a meeting of the Drainage Board.

The Sheriff announced that two cars with fairly low milage would be replaced in late spring or early summer and asked if the County could use the vehicles. The Commissioners thought that the two vehicles could probably replace two other county vehicles with higher mileage and maintenance issues. There was a discussion about replacing the main server for the Department. Originally the Sheriff was planning to make the upgrade in the 2018 budget but because of the hacking cases in Indiana counties this past year, thought it advisable to move the date up.

The Commissioners opened four bids for construction of what will be CR 300E, a road that will replace 250E that is being closed and will become part of NIPSCO property. The bids ranged from $230,900 to $272,594 and the low bid from Von Excavating  was accepted.

The County Attorney Eric Beaver announced that a draft of the digitized county code should arrive soon and it will come with eight pages of suggestions for changes to remove conflicts within the code or with state law.

The meeting then was continued until January 17 if another meeting was needed.

In the afternoon the Commissioners were back as the Drainage Board. They opened three bids for work on the Yeoman Ditch and John's Brothers was the low bidder at $72,000. Joseph Miller from Banning Engineering updated them on the Amsler Tile project. I could not follow most of what he said.

There was a complaint from someone in Morgan Estates and it seemed to be mostly about neighbors not getting along. Finally the surveyor asked how to handle a petition for working on the King Lawler tile, which is a bit east of I-65 and west of Airport Road. Mr Maxwell said that because of the cost involved, there was no way that the land owners would ever approve the project. (It costs between $30 and $40 per foot to replace 36 inch tile.) A meeting of landowners was suggested as a way forward.

Winter has returned after our Christmas warm up. The forecast has us below freezing for the next five or six days.

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