New Rockford Transcript - Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Park District wraps up summer season, city continues to monitor construction


September 9, 2019

The pool log showed 450 more visits throughout its season this summer than last. New Rockford Park District Manager Dennis Nybo reported that and other details about the agency’s activities at the Sept. 3 city commission meeting. Annual swim passes were also up a fair amount, from 56 last year to 89 this year. The pool was open more than 80% of a possible 68 days, as they were closed 2.5 days due to staffing shortage and another 9.5 days due to weather.

Nearly 100 youth participated in summer leagues this year. The largest was t-ball, with three teams and 37 kids enrolled. The Coach Pitch, Cal Ripken and Slowpitch Softball teams all earned first place in their league tournaments and the Babe Ruth team finished fourth in the state.

Park staff painted a pickleball court on the existing tennis court to increase usage of the facility. Pickleball is played with two or four players on a badminton-size court and with a tennis style net. Players use a spinning wiffle ball and paddles to play. A team can only get a point on their serve, and teammates must switch spots after every point. The first team to score 11 points and being at least two clear. Unlike tennis, the serve must be underarm.

The priority list has changed for the water main replacement project, as crews were not in town as of Tuesday. Third Avenue North will now be the first to have new water mains installed, right in front of All Veterans Park. Nybo said that temporary restrooms will be available in the park while the water mains are replaced, and visitors will be able to enter and exit the park via the northeast drive off of U.S. Hwy. 281.

The city commission reviewed an estimate from Interstate Engineering for adding Rocket logos and “Home of the Rockets” to the water tower when it is repainted next year. The total cost has been determined to be $5,000 per logo or slogan, for a total of $20,000 to brand with two logos and two slogans. New Rockford-Sheyenne School board previously approved $2,000 for the building committee to contribute to this additional decoration with the intention to raise the money from booster groups and individuals.

The cost of water tower repairs, including a new solid color paint job and “New Rockford” painted in black on two sides, is estimated at $250,000. Public Works Superintendent Bruce Hirchert noted that the city will not pay for the cost of the added logos or slogan. He also recommended that the city solicit bids for the project this fall rather than wait for the plans and specifications to be finalized for the water plant upgrades, as they don’t anticipate bidding that portion of the project until February 2020 at the earliest. In the meantime, the water tower must undergo an inspection in order to determine the full scope of work to be done. Hirchert said he received two bids. HHH Coatings’ estimate of $5,500 requires draining the tower and then refilling it once the inspection is complete. KLM of Minneapolis proposes to use a robot to perform the inspection, which does not require emptying the tower. KLM’s bid was $5,000, the city approved the bid.

Commissioners saw an updated list of past due utility bills prepared by Auditor George Ritzke. He noted that most of the users have made payments or are now current. A total of seven, however, have made no effort to clear up their balance. Per ordinance, Ritzke will put a 7-day disconnect notice on their door. If they don’t make payment arrangements or pay their bill in full within 7 days, public works staff will disconnect their water supply.

Numerous permits were approved, including two residential building permits, four local gaming requests for raffles and two special liquor permits for DPRCA events. Two applications for housing incentives were also reviewed and approved, along with a beer license for Wonder Lanes.

Work on U.S. Highway 281 is not expected to be complete until the end of the construction season. That means Phase 2 of the project, which involves rebuilding the frontage roads, will not likely occur until 2020. Border States Paving plans to submit a request to the NDDOT for an extension on the project, which has been plagued by weather and water line issues. A total of four water service lines were hit since work began, including the line that feeds Cash & Carry Lumber. Hirchert said that the city had no prior knowledge of the location of these service lines.


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