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Bremen Town Council Meeting

by Amy Wenger on April 30, 2014

Anyone who wants to utilize the amenities of Bremen's park system will want to take note of some stipulations pertaining to their patronage.  Several proposed changes were outlined during a lengthy discussion which ensued during the Bremen Town Council session of Monday, April 28.

The spirited conversation among board members resulted in the passage of Ordinance 8-2014, on its first reading, which detailed some potential restrictions on smoking policies, the usage of motorized vehicles on park property, and hours of operation.  The ordinance must pass through two additional readings before it becomes established as permanent, so the possibility remains that further debate on the subject will transpire in future sessions.

Park Superintendent Brian Main first broached the topic during a council meeting which took place on April 14, in which he made suggestions about existing park rules that were in need of revision. Main would like to see an outright ban on smoking altogether, a notion which met with some resistance from the council.  Monitoring and enforcing such a rule would require a great deal of intervention and supervision, it was noted.  Because smokers would also be outdoors anyway, it was pointed out that smokers might perceive the measure as an infringement of their rights.

It was agreed upon that a more appropriate method of curtailing smoking might be to simply install signage at strategic points around the ball diamonds and the parks, signs which could note "Thank you for not smoking" or other similar phrases.

As to the issue of motorized vehicles, most notably golf carts, there were points of contention raised again as to whether it would be appropriate to use the carts along the paved pathways, perhaps for the purpose of simply driving to ball games to watch children playing, a point specified by council vice-president Mike Leman.  Main, on the other hand, is concerned about damage to the grounds, citing examples of occurrences when operators actually drove through and across fields, sometimes during actual games.  The resulting deep ruts were difficult to repair, Main said.

Director of Operations Trend Weldy then consulted a manual which documented past council action on the subject, and in doing so, discovered "there's already an ordinance on the books, prohibiting the use of motor vehicles on the bike paths."

The final issue pertains to what hours, if any, the park should be closed to the public.  Council member Rick Graverson, in particular, seemed intent on having park access limited between the hours of 1 and 5 a.m., which still offers ample opportunities for people to visit the parks in the later summer hours.  Main wondered aloud if it might simply be easier to not institute any operating hours at all, adding that the posted signs announcing hours of operation would be meaningless, "if the rules don't have any teeth."  When asked if there have been problems with suspicious activities during the overnight hours, Police Chief Matt Hassel replied, "not really," but Main spoke of believing otherwise.

The next two sessions of the Bremen Town Council will provide additional forums for the members and the public alike to raise their voices in dissent or approval of the prospective changes.  The council will meet on Monday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Tuesday, May 27, also at 7:30 p.m., in the council chambers of the Bremen Town Hall.

In other council matters, a brief public hearing was rendered on the issue of having the town consider the use of State Revolving Fund (SRF) resources to help finance the town's impending water treatment plant construction.  No one from the public was on hand to voice opinions on the subject, so the strategy will now be researched as a viable method of funding the project.  The project is now considered to be at Phase 1, which means that the engineering firm of Commonwealth Engineers has been selected to proceed with their work on designing and activating the plan of action.  Peerless Midwest has also been secured to conduct various stages of work in relation to establishing well fields, test drilling, determining the quality of the aquifers, sampling analyses, and other related tasks.

Two members of the Town Council were also appointed, temporarily, to hold seats on the Bremen Police Commission, to replace two outgoing members who resigned in April.  Mike Leman and Rick Graverson will take over those duties, so that the commission can continue to meet with a quorum, until such time as suitable replacements can be found.  Anyone who wishes to be considered for the positions should contact the Town Hall.

Town Engineer Larry Long sought, and subsequently received, the council's permission to solicit bids for a minor drainage project near the intersection of North Douglas and Second Streets, where runoff issues have been compounded in recent months.  Revamping the storm sewer system at this location is necessary, Long said, as the ponding of water is washing away sections of pavement in the area. Long will be rounding up quotes for approximately 280 feet of curb and guttering, at an estimated cost of $8000.

A resolution declaring May 11 through May 17 as National Police Week was approved upon by the council as well.  The activities will be marked locally by a commemoration event honoring fallen officers and their families, a ceremony which will take place on Tuesday, May 13 at 5 p.m. at the Bremen Police Department.  On a related note, it was announced that the community will be observing the Memorial Day holiday with the return of a town parade at 11 a.m.  The lineup will begin at the post office and end at the Bremen Cemetery.  For more information on how to participate, or call (574) 248-0453.



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