One event planned within the city of Wadena that could have heated things up before the deep chill sets in is now canceled.

The Minnesota Salsa Festival, an event hosted by the Sustainable Farming Association and scheduled for Sept. 19 in Wadena was canceled by the group. City officials said the organizers cited the many unknowns about the health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19 as the reason for canceling. In response, the city pulled plans for street closure and a liquor license from their agenda during their Tuesday, July 14 meeting.

Electric vehicle charging coming soon

Wondering when you can recharge your vehicle while stopping in Wadena? Utilities superintendent Dave Evans said city crews will be pouring concrete soon to install the EV charging station in Burlington Northern Park near the Depot. Evans said the project has been delayed due to unavailable contractors. The city will perform the work themselves in an effort to have the project complete within a few weeks.

Sit ‘n Splash

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You’ll soon be able to sit a spell while at the Splash Park after two groups decided that they would like to donate benches to the park, according to Wadena Public Works director Dan Kovar. The donors include Wadena residents Vicki and Daryl Pearson and the Paper Brothers Foundation. The street department will pour the concrete and install the benches.

Hospital utility extension project remains on hold

Tri-County Health Care President and CEO Joel Beiswenger said the new hospital project is in a process of moving forward again, but slowly and cautiously as they work with the USDA for major funding of the project. The City of Wadena is moving forward with finding funding to pay for a portion of the utility extension costs despite not having a solid date in mind for construction. Some work that they need to perform to make the site “shovel ready” to potentially qualify for stimulus funding includes preliminary engineering work to the tune of about $145,000.

City council members postponed entering into a professional services proposal with Bolton & Menk for that amount Tuesday night. City Administrator Janette Bower commented that the preliminary work is a risk the city would be taking if the hospital project did not take place. Bower was confident the project was going to move ahead. Beiswenger was on hand to reassure the council of the new hospital project moving forward and thanked the city for working towards completing this preliminary work. The group discussed likely making a decision by their September meeting to have some work complete before the snow flies.

In other actions, the council:

  • Authorized participating in the Community Concern for Youth Program with Todd-Wadena Community Corrections.

  • Approved a temporary liquor license for Wadena County Ag Society.

  • Approved a third amendment to the water tower lease with Verizon Wireless.

  • Approved hiring Jakheth Erickson as a part-time maintenance person at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center.

  • Approved hiring Alayna Cline as a part-time lifeguard at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center.

  • Approved hiring Allen Uselman as a firefighter with the Wadena Fire Department.

  • Approved issuing an on-sale wine license for Oma’s Bread LLC.

  • Approved issuing an on-sale liquor license, with Sunday sales, to Iron Corral.

  • Authorized entering the proposal with Bolton & Menk to provide Geographical Information Systems Program (GIS) – Electrical Distribution GPS/GIS Services. The city has been working with them for about one year. Water and sewer are already located within the system, and electrical will soon be in the mapping system. There is money in the budget for this project and the projected cost is $35,000.

  • Approved hiring Eagle Construction to complete a sewer siphon upgrade project. Kovar spoke about the project, which involves drilling into the road surface and installing valves that can be accessed from the surface. The project cost is $11,800.

  • Authorized entering into an agreement with BKV Group for the Wadena Library Project and approved dedicating the proceeds from the sale of the current library building to the library project. The new proposed project budget is $1,010,199, including the project construction cost of $761,038.
  • Authorized an expense of $18,930 for nuisance property cleanup at 201 Bottemiller Drive.
  • Authorized an asphalt project for the gravel area to the rear of the Utilities Department. The 23,000 square foot project was budgeted for in the 2020 budget and the low bidder, Ideal Construction of Staples, agreed to do the job for $35,650. As there was $45,000 budgeted, Evans asked to use remaining funds to buy concrete pole bunks for storing wooden utility poles on site.

  • The council held a closed session regarding City Administrator Janette Bower during their June meeting. The session was used to discuss Bower’s performance with the city. Following the closed session, the council passed a motion to move Bower from Step 2 ($43.21) to Step 3 ($45.13).