VC OKs riverbank repair

Emergency repairs were approved by the city commission Monday night for a portion of the riverbank along the 200 block of West Main Street that had fallen into the river sometime during the winter. A sizable portion of dirt and vegetation west of the retaining wall along Main eroded away, sparking concern about the structural stability of the road, sidewalk and a nearby billboard.

After requesting that the Department of Transportation and city engineers Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson examine the cave-in, it was found that no immediate danger to the road or billboard.

“We want to go forward and look to the federal government, state government, or the D.O.T., to see if we can find some money to help us take care of this,” said City Administrator David Schelkopf.

Funds from a Corps of Engineers riverbank study of the area, or a Community Development Block Grant for emergency repairs were also discussed as funding options.

“That (CDBG) might be the quickest option, because it’s just state money,” said engineer Erik Gilbertson of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson. “That’s an option if these other sources don’t pan out.”

Options for the riverbank repair include extending the sheet pile retaining wall, driving in timber beams, or simply filling in the sunken area with a large amount of clay to prevent further erosion.

In other business, the commission approved giving $50,000 in local Food and Beverage Grant funds to Valley City Parks and Recreation for 50 percent of the project cost for eight metal light poles and new light fixtures at Charlie Brown Field. The current poles do not provide adequate lighting and are leaning and unsafe.

The commission also discussed the ongoing project of finding a home for the city’s nine foot concert grand piano that is currently housed in the city auditorium. Commissioner Jon Wagar said that Valley City High School band director Tom Kjelland expressed interest in accepting the piano as a gift, restoring it, and moving it to the Hi-Liner Activity Center pending school board approval.

City Administrator David Schelkopf reported that a field of 39 applicants for the chief of police position has been whittled down to nine prospects, including two local applicants. After background checks are completed, phone interviews for the candidates will be conducted.

A proposed sprinkler park was also mentioned as part of the ongoing improvements to Pioneer Park, and Schelkopf mentioned that free grass seed was offered to local residents who have dikes on their property and would like to plant them to prevent erosion.