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New playground coming to Tapley Park

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Several items related to continuing tornado rebuilding were on Tuesday's regular city council meeting.

The Metropolis Playground has been set up at Tapley Park. The playground equipment by Rainbow Play Systems was a donation from Fargo's Froggy 99.9 station listeners and spearheaded by Wadena-Deer Creek alumna Amanda Lea in the wake of the June 17, 2010 tornado which had destroyed recreational facilities in southwest Wadena.

Public Works Director Ron Bucholz said that engineered wood fiber was recommended by the manufacturer.

The council approved Flagship Recreation for 140 cubic yards of the wood fiber, and Merickel for timbers.

It was not a budgeted item, but Wolden said they had saved $9,000 on a roof project earlier in the meeting and would still be ahead.

The council approved Earl F. Andersen, the company with the lower of two bids for street signs to replace signs hit by the tornado.

"This should wrap up, pretty much, the sign portion of the FEMA grant," Bucholz said.

The new signs would be up to code, letters six inches thick instead of four inches.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said that some people on Facebook were interested in buying the old tornado-hit street name signs, which could recoup part of the costs.

Bucholz said that since new signs were paid for by FEMA, that could complicate the selling of the old signs, and if taken as keepsakes by the public the old signs should not be used illegally.

The council approved a Park Board recommendation to rebuild the Lions Shelter in the park by the wading pool, and rebuild the baseball storage shed by the newly rebuilt ball field. Both projects would be covered by FEMA.

Council Member Kay Browne said that there was going to be a topographical survey of the area, and because of that it made more sense to fix the existing shelter until then rather than putting up an entirely new shelter.

She said that the paint color would coordinate with other park shelters.

Council member Don Niles said he got a comment that softball was being overlooked.

The council approved Ulteig Engineers for the topographical survey for the southwest playground.

"The Peterson Foundation agreed to pay for this survey," Bucholz said.

The council also approved a proposal from Ulteig to make a case for FEMA about the results of sewer televising.

The council approved completing portions of the electric underground projects that were not covered by FEMA.

Light and Water Supervisor Dave Evans said that project areas 2 and 4, which are not covered and not part of the tornado zone as decided by FEMA, were tied to project areas 1, 3 and 5 which are being covered.

"When we go underground we need to have loop feeds into those underground systems," he said.

Wolden said it was an unplanned event, but that was what the reserve fund was for.

The council approved applying for 2012 capital budget requests to try to get the proposed wellness center into next year's bonding bill. They would be able to withdraw if they already receive funding this summer in a special legislative session.

As an informational item, it was announced that Wolden has been awarded the C.C. Ludwig Leadership Award from the League of Minnesota Cities.

Council member Don Niles said that both Wolden and Swenson were recommended very highly, but they probably wouldn't choose two people from the same city.

In department reports, Bucholz said that the Tapley shelter was done and ready for public use.

He said that the factory making the northwest skate park equipment is in Joplin, MO.

"The factory is probably three or four blocks from the disaster," he said. "Everything went good, but they were shut down for about 10 days."

Evans said that Dave Evert with the Long Term Recovery Committee had asked for the use of a chipper for volunteers in Almora, which was one of the areas hit by the East Otter Tail EF4 tornado. It was okayed as long as only city employees used it - since it is a potentially dangerous piece of equipment - while volunteering after hours.

Wolden said it would be a goodwill gesture to Almora, and that other cities had helped Wadena after its EF4 tornado.

Baymler said that 25 of 27 houses were being fixed in Almora.

In council reports, Niles said that the Initiative Foundation is looking for takers for small business loans which are available until July 1.

WDA director Dean Uselman said it was related to tornado recovery funds, and they had worked with DEED.