Following around 30 years working as an administrative assistant at Belle Plaine City Hall, Patricia Krings took the other side of the city council bench when she was sworn in on Monday night, Jan. 6.
Krings was brought in as an appointee to fill outgoing Councilman Ben Stier’s position. Stier vacated his seat after moving outside of city limits.
Krings’s assumption of her city council seat alongside Renee LeMeiux marks the first time in Belle Plaine history in which more than one woman has served on the city council.
“As a council, Pat, we are very excited to welcome you. As many of you know, Pat served our community for many, many years as a great employee for the city, so we look forward to her continuing to give her talents back in her seat as a councilperson,” Belle Plaine Mayor Chris Meyer said following Krings’s oath of office.
“I’m honored to be here,” Krings replied.
New Fire Chiefs
The Belle Plaine City Council appointed three fire chiefs to the Belle Plaine Fire Department, including Steve Otto as Chief 1, Brian Siekmann as Chief 2 and Rob Selly as Chief 3. Tim Hentges was appointed to the Lt. role.
New Ice Rinks
The Belle Plaine Public Works Department began flooding the newly constructed hockey and ice rinks at Hickory Park on Tuesday, Jan. 7. Public Works Superintendent Al Fahey stated that the unseasonable warm weather has prevented the rinks from getting their doses of ice. He added that, due to the fact that the new Hickory Park rinks have concrete bottoms, ice will have an easier time forming than on the dirt-lined rinks the city previously operated in good faith on school district property on Market Street. Fahey also noted that if the city was still operating at the rinks on Market Street, crews would likely not be flooding the rinks at this point due to ground conditions, adding that other outdoor rinks in the area have closed.
“Hopefully we can get some ice down,” Fahey said in part.
Lights for the rinks are set to arrive on Thursday, and Fahey believes the rinks could be operational by Jan. 20.
The city is progressing with the process that would allow for the construction and extension of two streets in the northeast portion of the city on what is known as Jane Properties subdivision per a developer’s agreement by and between the city of Belle Plaine and the land owner, Shaun Johnson.
On Monday, the council voted to approve the preparation of final plans and specifications for the extension of Hickory Boulevard and construction of the adjoining Prosper Street following a public hearing on the matter.
At the hearing, Johnson expressed that he is happy to work alongside the city as he and a newly enlisted team of property and development professionals work with potential developers.
The public hearing and subsequent approval of preparation of final plans come after city tax payers footed the cost of extending the North Sanitary Interceptor Extension to the subject property, costing several hundred thousand dollars from the sewer fund.
Johnson, who noted that he has invested around a quarter of a million dollars into the sub-division with the hopes to stimulate development, stated that he is “cautiously optimistic” with the state of courting the potential developers.
“I feel we all [Johnson and city leaders] want to succeed here and see a return on our investment,” Johnson said to the mayor and council. “I feel my current team can help us reach our common goal of making this development work.”
“I feel we are at a good place,” Johnson later added.
The city is eyeing a May start to construction, but there are several steps that need to occur before the potential street improvement project would take place. City leaders expressed that they hope to advertise for bids as soon as possible in order to secure a good price for the project.