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Onalaska council eyes park pavilion

BY LEW VAIL
Enterprise staff
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ONALASKA – Plans for an open-air, steel pavilion at the Onalaska Park were reviewed Tuesday by the Onalaska City Council, which voted to seek bids for the structure.

Mayor Roy Newport presented a sketch and site plan for a 60 x 100 x 16-foot pavilion with ten steel columns and a 60-foot clear span. The plans call for it to be built on a concrete slab with exterior walls that drop down to a 10-foot height.

Newport said he has a major contributor for the project which, when completed, would allow for citizens to hold meetings, outdoor events and provide shade for activities during the hot summer days. Council voted to go out for bids for the project, with specifics and construction specs to be voted upon at a future meeting.

The Jan. 13 session began when Newport asked Mason Brecheen, son of the city librarian, to open the meeting with the pledge to both American and Texas flags. Newport then presented the certificates to the winners of the Christmas decorating contest, who posed for a group photo. Represented were winners from the Onalaska Water and Gas Company, Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department (OVFD), Impala Woods Subdivision, Twin Harbors Subdivision, Ron Gilbert, Jacqueline Thompson, and Ed and Julia Rodgers.

During the meeting, the council agreed to seek a Texas Community Development Block Grant (TxCDBG) for street improvements and voted to hire Raymond K. Vann and Associates as the grant's management consultant and KSA Engineering as the engineering firm. There were only two bids for engineering services, which were opened in December, and only one for the management position.

Ordinance 354 was approved, calling for a city election on May 9. Three council positions are up for a two-year terms, including those of Carl Cruse, Shirley Gilmore and Patsy Goins. This will be the first election since the annexation of Canyon Park and those new residents will be eligible to vote, having been in the city more than the required six months.

Applications for a place on the ballot will be accepted at city hall Jan. 28 - Feb. 27. Early voting will be April 27 through May 5, daily except weekends 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and on May 4 and 5, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Applications for mail ballots will be accepted starting March 25 until close of business April 24. Mail ballot requests should be sent to: Angela Stutts, Early Voting Clerk, P.O. Box 880, Onalaska, Texas.

Council passed interlocal agreements with Polk County for voting equipment and Onalaska Independent School District for a joint election to be held at Onalaska City Hall. Should Onalaska not have to hold an election, it will be at the school administration building for OISD voting.

Police Chief Ron Gilbert reported the department made 122 dispatched calls and responded to 411 incidents, making four felony arrests and 52 misdemeanor arrests. It also wrote 88 citations and 27 warnings, assisted Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department twice and Polk County Sherriff's Office 17 times. Officers drove a total of 4,119 miles, opened 38 new cases and handled two drug cases. Gilbert reported the new cars are performing well and council voted to go out for bids to sell the three old vehicles.

Onalaska Fireman Trevor Ruthstrom presented the stats for the OVFD. They responded to 27 medical calls, four motor vehicle accidents, one lake rescue and two lift assists when a patient needs assistance. With an aging population, more than 80 percent of the calls in December were medical in nature.

Fire Marshal Lee Parish reported no fires during the month. As building inspector, he issued permits for one new home, four new manufactured homes, two refurbished manufactured homes, and two commercial modifications. Fees were $1,528 and the value to the city increased by $345,350. As building inspector, he issued nine red warning tags and sent two letters regarding violations. One case in Canyon Park was resolved with a voluntary removal and one case went to court and had stipulations placed on the building.

The library report showed that though open just 23 days during the holiday month, the use was high with 781 patrons circulating an average of 58 books daily and 258 computer users. The summer reading program planning is underway and the school will send out information in May.

Newport said he is working with several business people and will announce an Economic Advisory Board at the Jan. 29 Central East Texas Association (CETA) morning coffee meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. at Jerry's Restaurant in Onalaska. The speaker, Michelle Spodnik from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will discus having a farmer's market and a local farmer will address his experience with these over the years.

The Onalaska Athletic Booster Club will hold the second annual Color Fun Run at 8 a.m. on Feb. 28 at the high school.

Council also approved the consent agenda consisting of minutes, financials and voucher payments.

DECORATING WINNERS – Winners of the Onalaska Christmas Decorating Contest received their certificates during city council meeting on Tuesday. Winners included Onalaska Water and Gas Company, Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department, Impala Woods Subdivision, Twin Harbors Subdivision, Ron Gilbert, Jacqueline Thompson, and Ed and Julia Rodgers.