Nevis council updates summer plans

The city’s floating diving platform has been tied up next to the fishing dock at the Lake Belle Taine boat access in Nevis. The council decided at Monday night’s meeting that putting it out by the beach would not be congruent with social distancing guidelines.

The swimming raft in Nevis will remain chained to the pier for now. The decision was made at Monday night’s council meeting following a discussion about social distancing recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Council member Rich Johnson said that he has frequently seen 10-15 kids on the raft at the same time. “They were packed like sardines, which doesn’t meet the guidelines for social distancing,” he said. “We maybe can’t stop people from gathering in whatever groups they want, but we don’t want to encourage it or make it worse in any way. We can’t stop people from going to the beach because it’s there. We can’t pick it up and move it. But we can say no to the raft.”

“COVID-19 isn’t going away, it’s going to get worse,” council member Jeanne Thompson said. “It hadn’t been here but it’s here (in Hubbard county) now. A lot of the mentality is that because the governor has reduced the requirements of isolation we can just do whatever we want. But that’s not necessarily the safest.”

Council member Sue Gray agreed. “Our numbers are going up here in Hubbard County,” she said. We had another couple of cases today, so that’s five now. And who would monitor social distancing on the raft if it were out?”

Thompson pointed out that swimming is already “at your own risk” since there is no lifeguard at the city beach. Buoys have been set out to designate the swimming area.

Moving ahead with Muni patio

Although seating is now allowed in the Municipal Liquor store bar at 50 percent capacity, adding outdoor seating will allow the facility to serve more customers.

While the veranda can hold a small group of people, liquor store manager Kiley Weaver said if they rope off the outdoor parking lot space it will probably hold 60 people following social distancing guidelines. The patio would be open afternoons and evenings with possibly longer hours on weekends.

Weaver said having electricity outside is important because workers will be wearing face masks.

“Do we really want them running 200 yards outside from inside for eight hours when it’s 80 degrees?” she asked. “I just don’t think that’s a good idea. I want to do inside and outside to make up for what we’re not capable of doing inside. But we can feasibly only do that if it’s set up with electricity so they can have a bar outside, stay in one place and patrol the area from under the deck where there’s shade and a breeze.”

Electrical work to rearrange the panel to accommodate outside use is estimated to cost $1,200. The council approved going ahead with the stipulation that it ties in with the upcoming remodeling project.

“We’re going to run electrical out there for the remodel and I don’t want to do that twice,” Johnson said. “If the electrician can do it now in conjunction with the remodel plans, I would definitely be for it.”

The council approved $2,488 that also includes purchasing perimeter lighting, umbrellas and lights for the umbrellas.

“If there is a problem with the electrical I would say stop and we’ll have to figure out if it’s going to be worth it or not, but my feeling is there won’t be a problem,” Thompson said.

Rather than purchasing new fencing, the snow fence the city already has will be used to contain the outdoor serving area.

Moving ahead with Muni remodel

The council approved the final plan submitted by architectural firm Widseth, Smith and Nolting and is moving ahead with plans to remodel the municipal liquor store. That project includes using the current council chambers to create a larger off-sale area.

“With any kind of luck we’re breaking ground on that remodel fairly quickly,” Johnson said.

“Now is the time. We’re not operating as normal, so let’s get it done as soon as possible. We should have a special meeting for those bids so we can start doing something in late June or early July.”

Financing for the project will also be discussed at the special meeting, along with a timeline for work outside and inside to minimize the time the liquor store will need to be closed during their peak summer season.

Road paving to begin in late June

The road project coming through Nevis is projected to kick off later this month, starting with work on Hwy. 2 and Cty. Rd. 18 around June 25.

“If timing holds most of the work will begin after the Fourth of July,” public works supervisor Don Umthun said. “Get ready for torn up roads.”

The project bid came in around $90,000, and with engineering fees the city’s portion of the cost is expected to remain around the projected $100,00 mark. The city has $20,000 set aside for the project that will include paving on Main Street and Third Street.

“We’re going to wrap down Pleasant as far as we can go,” Umthun said. It’s going to go for sure in front of the new parking lot at the school. Prices are better, so we’re getting more bang for our buck.”