The City of Wauseon plans to open the community pool this summer, but the details of when and how remain sketchy.
During a meeting of City Council teleconferenced Monday on Facebook, Public Service Director Keith Torbet said he’s unsure of state guidelines for opening a public pool during the coronavirus pandemic. He said Fulton County Health Commissioner Kim Cupp is currently trying to gather that information.
“I have every intention of having the pool open this year,” Torbet said. “I just don’t know if we’re going to have restrictions on the number of people in it at a time, or what restrictions, but we will do what we can to make sure that we get that open sometime this year.”
He said season passes held by residents will be adjusted accordingly.
At this time, the city’s tennis and basketball courts have also been closed until the state declares them safe to reopen, Torbet said.
The subject of restrictions was further broached when Councilor Harold Stickley reported that he received a citizen’s complaint involving children using the skate equipment at Wabash Park. During the discussion Police Chief Kevin Chittenden confirmed that the children were asked by a patrol officer to leave the park due to social distancing concerns.
Chittenden said police caution tape has since been placed around the skate equipment. He said one of the children the officer confronted said he wasn’t aware the skate equipment was off limits since it wasn’t blocked. Nearby playground equipment had already been cordoned off.
Stickley asked Mayor Kathy Huner what rules are in place for children gathering to play, and expressed concern for people’s rights during the pandemic.
“The Constitution’s getting stomped on – the First Amendment – pretty hard lately, the last 50 days. I know the governor’s trying his best,” he said.
Huner said it’s up to the county health department to determine, through state regulations, what public areas should be closed during the pandemic.
“The City of Wauseon has been trying diligently to follow the state mandates…And unfortunately, this is one of those mandates we can’t change,” she said. “According to the health department, when they ask us to close something we have to close it …When we are asked by the governor to put these policies and procedures in place for our city, that’s what we’ve been doing…To pick and choose what we should do and shouldn’t do – it’s very difficult.”
In department reports:
• Public Service Director Keith Torbet said the South Shoop Avenue water line project is ahead of schedule. He said some portions have been completed, and the line will eventually be connected with the north section.
He added that the portion of the city walking trail located between Dickman Road and County Road 16 has been smoothed and given an asphalt surface.
• Finance Director Jamie Giguere said the city’s income tax revenue is down 17.8% as compared to this time last year. She said total receipts for April totaled $312,000, and said the city averaged about $500,000 in receipts in April the over the past three years.
Giguere said she’s assuming the city will recoup some of the lost revenue in the coming months, since tax returns aren’t due this year until July 15, due to the pandemic.
She also reported that the city has received a second government stimulus check. The two checks total $111,000.
• Law Director Tom McWatters III said the city’s COVID-19 response team met with city department heads to ensure pandemic policies are updated and consistent with the state’s current regulations.
In new business, Council approved the final reading of a resolution authorizing the mayor to seek bids and enter into agreement with the lowest and best bidder for downtown American Disabilities Act-compliant ramps.
Council members also scheduled a public hearing Monday, May 18, at 5 p.m. in their second floor chambers at 230 Clinton St. to discuss an application to rezone 854 S. Shoop Ave. from R-1 single family to B-4 mixed community use to permit a Sarah’s Garden vocational school/coffee shop at that location.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.