City seeking organizations to champion Riverside Park buildings

By: 
KATHLEEN GILLULY
Outlook managing editor

At the first meeting with the new councilors and mayor seated, the Laurel City Council stuck to the workshop agenda Tuesday evening and reviewed items they will vote on next week during the business meeting. Among those were appointments to the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department and the Laurel Police Reserves; and resolutions to approve the Riverside Park Master Plan, a Turkey Shoot by the Laurel Rod and Gun Club, and the purchase of a new garbage truck.

John Beck, David Walters, Jesse Gee and Jayson Nicholson will be appointed to the LVFD. They were presented to the council by Fire Chief Brent Peters. He said with the addition of the new firefighters, the department is now 44 strong.

Johnathan Wayne Simpson and Nick Vito Buciuman are new members of the Laurel Police Reserves. Police Chief Rick Musson discussed their appointment at a previous meeting.

City Planner Noel Eaton presented the Riverside Park Master Plan and explained to council how it was created. There will be a public hearing on the plan at the Tuesday, Jan. 16 meeting. Eaton noted there was an open house in August with over 100 interested citizens in attendance who indicated their preferences for amenities and ranked their importance. An advisory committee helped guide Eaton and Jerry Grebenc of Great West Engineering in the creation of the plan. Eaton emphasized that the plan is flexible. For example, if funding becomes available for a project before it is scheduled, timelines may be rearranged.

Restoration of the historic buildings damaged in the 2011 flood and pipeline break are included in the plan. Both residents and the club members that traditionally used the buildings indicated repairing them important. As there is no funding for building restoration currently, Eaton said it would be necessary to find champions to take on the projects. Members of the Laurel Rod and Gun Club have consistently let the city know they have a stake in their building and the club has financial resources and plans to pursue remediation.

Those interested in championing one of the other buildings must submit a proposal and give a presentation to the city council. Among the items that must be addressed are the current building conditions; a description of how remediation of toxins like mold will be done; a statement on how the project will comply with floodplain regulations; and a detailed cost estimate with funding sources. The entire park plan and building champion requirements are available at city hall and are posted at www.laureloutlook.com.

Anyone interested in commenting on the plan is encouraged to attend the Jan. 16 public hearing at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers. 

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