Council approves land purchase for new Fire Hall

LAUREL — Plans for a new Fire Hall in Laurel are moving ahead.

The Laurel City Council approved a purchase agreement between the city and the Rural Fire Board of some land along Highway 20 just south of True Value.

Regg Pehrson, representing the Rural Fire Board, showed Council members a rough draft of the proposed Fire Hall. At this point, the plans are just tentative and have not been approved by the fire department.

Also Monday, CMBA Architects gave an overview for the conceptual plans for a community center.

The proposed building would be approximately 20,500 square feet. These plans included specific spaces for a city office, senior center, a multi-purpose space, and then a shared space for a kitchen and restrooms.

The cost of the conceptual plans were part of the approved grant the CCFFF committee received.

Verneal Gade made a public comment at the beginning of the city council meeting.

He pointed out the Laurel Welcome sign on the outskirts of town is lacking a sign on one side. He made the suggestion of putting a sign up for those as they leave the town.

In addition, Gade asked about the city’s plan for the upcoming summer regarding mowing around Laurel.

“The city has hired two helpers for the summer,” said Mark McCoy, City Administrator.

Council members discussed current water rates, as well as electric rates.

The council made a motion to increase the electric rates by two percent. The first reading was held regarding increasing the water usage rates from the current $1.75 to $2.00 per 1,000 gallons, citing increased maintenance.

One of the major concerns is the water tower will need to be painted in the next few years. The current rate has not been raised for at least three years.

Council members were also told the roof on the city auditorium will need to be replaced.

During the evaluation of the building done during the walk through with the CMBA Architects, they noted several areas that needed attention. This is in addition to part of the area that was damaged from wind, this portion has been turned into the city’s insurance. The current roof is well over 20 years old, with only minor patching being done. More information is needed regarding the repairs to the roof.

Hillcrest Care Center Administrator Virginia Lundahl reported there are currently 25 long-term care residents and six assisted living residents. Alisha Beyke began working as the new Activities Director in April. She and husband, Cole, recently moved to Laurel.

The Council was also told applications for the Young Philanthropy Contest were due May

15. Young persons in the area are encouraged to find ways to help better their community. Contest winners will be awarded money to make their ideas a reality.

The Laurel-Concord-Coleridge first graders planted a tree in celebration of Arbor Day. Dwayne Freeman and Sandra Cross helped make this possible, teaching the kids the importance of being environmentally minded.

A Disc Golf Tournament was held during its grand opening. Avid disc golfers from many surrounding towns came to compete. Once the tournament was completed, a clinic was held for those new to the sport. Many of the competitors from the tournament gave tips to the novice golfers.

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