The H. A. Hagg Task Force has started to move forward on "Phase 2" of the undertaking of dealing with the abandoned Clarkfield school. Phase 1 was about community engagement and fact finding. Phase 2 involves figuring out detailed estimates and plans. Phase 3 involves figuring out the funding and sustainability strategy, and Phase 4 is taking action. The Task Force has previously completed a large number of steps. They figured out the ownership and legal status of the building, evaluated the condition of the structure, held two public meetings to inform citizens and solicit ideas for the building's use, applied for a bonding grant from the State, and met with interested parties to discuss their vision and goals for the structure.
The main goal is to save the West gym, locker room, and wrestling room. The leading idea is to create a community center. Yellow Medicine County recently passed a 50% match resolution to help with costs. Right now the task force needs to hire an architect or an engineering firm to go through and give a detailed estimate of what the demolition and possible renovations will cost. A detailed breakdown will be necessary for applying for any kind of grants. The Task Force asked the Clarkfield City Council if they are willing to put up money to get the detailed estimates from an architect or engineering firm. The council agreed to interviewing some prospects. There is a deadline to get the detailed estimates done before the State Legislature sends people to inspect the projects cities have applied for grants for starting in July.
In other news: •The Clarkfield pool opened June 9th. There was a break-in June 13th, the locks were replaced •Clarkfield was awarded $11,951 from the Small Cities Assistance Program for street improvements. •Yellow Medicine County has declared a daycare crisis due to the shortage of daycare availability. Clarkfield's daycare initiative is underway. Yellow Medicine East recently transferred the old parochial school building to the city, for use as a daycare. According to the EDA, it will bring nine jobs to Clarkfield. There will be 24 infant spots and 14 toddler spots, and 20 preschool spots. 21 spots are already taken. •City Administrator Amanda Luepke is researching prices for mosquito spraying. •Jodie Geske has filed to sue the city of Clarkfield to direct them to enforce its ordinances.
•There was also a discussion about allegations of misconduct against Jarrod Lobdell. Council member Jerry Kaupang took over as chair for this part of the meeting. The allegations are about damage to one of the city lawnmowers, and also the mirror of the white city pickup truck. During the meeting, Lobdell admitted that when he was backing up the truck, the mirror hit a tree and got popped out of place, but did not break. He popped it back and didn't consider any damage done considering the mirror didn't break. Regarding the damage to the lawnmower, he argued that it's possible he may have damaged the mower without realizing it. He explained that the mower is loud, and when working, he wears ear protection. The mower also vibrates, making it difficult to know if he were to hit something. The allegations involve him failing to report damage, and he argued that it's hard to report something he didn't notice. Kaupang recommended the council follow policy 23 section 6, which lets the City Administrator, with council approval, handle the situation based on her findings. His reasoning was he doesn't think it's fair to judge a situation or person based on written testimonies alone. He preferred to defer judgment to those who are more closely involved. Luepke will meet with Lobdell on Thursday and move forward with her decision.