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Hoisington City Council approves nominee for fire district board
Pool hours and pole art discussed
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The Hoisington City Council received a hand-drawn representation of Bruce Bitters proposal for a new way to hang the pole art displayed along Main Street. Currently attached to light poles, some pieces of the art have been damaged from passing trucks on some corners, and the Hoisington Main Street committee, the Chamber of Commerce and the city have been seeking a solution. - photo by Courtesy Image

Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Hoisington City Council meeting Monday night:

• Approved the final replat of lot 7, block 1 of the McKenna Meadows subdivision located at the intersection of 15th and Vine, on the recommendation of the Hoisington Planning Commission following the public hearing last week.
• Appointed a representative to the new Fire District Board of Trustees
• Approved a proposal by the Hoisington Rec for evening swimming lessons during the month of June, along with a proposed schedule for those lessons, adult and family swim times.
• Discussed proposals for display of Hoisington Pole Art.
• Heard the city manager’s report, which included information on several ongoing city projects including the water softening system, cemetery preparations in advance of Memorial Day, and the timeline for forming the proposed Fire District.

HOISINGTON — Four Hoisington community members sent letters to the city recommending themselves to be appointed to the board of directors for the proposed fire district that Barton County Commissioners are expected to approve following the May 14 public hearing that will take place at 9 a.m. in the commission chambers. In a mailing prior to the meeting, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell shared the letters from Councilman Robert Bruce, retired firefighter Shannon Donovan, EMS Director Scott Fleming, and retired fire chief James Sekavec. He also met informally over the weekend with Hoisington Fire Department personnel where anonymous and non-binding vote was taken on who they would recommend for the position. According to Mitchell, all 12 firefighters supported Donovan, and on other candidate received more than 50 percent support.
Bruce excused himself from the discussion. Councilman Travis Sinn asked Hoisington’s fire chief, Joe Strecker, who he would like to see. Strecker stood behind the recommendation of his department.
“I feel this was a fair way to do it,” he said. “All applicants were on time. The guys cast votes, whatever way it would have went, I felt it was the fairest way it could be done.”
The council followed suit, unanimously agreed they would promote Donovan to the Commission, noting that he will need to fill out an application and submit it to the commissioners prior to the May 14 hearing.
Strecker took a moment to thank all the candidates for showing interest.
“This is a major step forward for our department,” he added.

Evening swimming lessons approved
After he was approached by parents in the community concerning their need for evening swimming lessons this summer to better accommodate work schedules, Mitchell met with Hoisington Recreation Commission Director Chris Kinman about possible options.
“There’s not a perfect solution,” Mitchell said. “The way not to make waves is to leave it as it is and not offer evening lessons But, if they want to offer them, shortening adult swim would be the way to do it.”
Kinman proposed a schedule that included shortening the hours previously devoted for adult swim from an hour to half-an-hour. Adult swim would be from 5-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Swim lessons from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and possibly Friday. Water aerobics would be offered Monday and Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, and from 8:30 to 9 on Tuesday and Thursday. Family Swim would be from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Swim lessons will still be offered in the mornings in June, he added. Michael Aylward, council president, asked how much demand there was for the evening lessons. While Mitchell was uncertain, those approaching him have assured him there are parents who have been travelling to Great Bend for lessons.
Aylward suggested moving ahead with the proposal on a tentative basis. If the public doesn’t sign up, he suggested, the pool should restore the adult swim times. Mitchell suggested some adult swimmers might object, but he has also heard comments that adult swim is not well attended. Aylward suggested monitoring it for the first month closely.

Another option presented for pole art
After the city presented a “double-stack” prototype solution for a new way to display the city’s pole art, Mitchell was approached by Bruce Bitter of B&B Metal Arts with another option. Bitter designed the original break-away hinges currently holding the art to poles along Main Street. That was several years ago, and since then, he has modified the design. Other communities that use his system to display public art, he claims, have been satisfied. That second solution, a “two-up” design, was presented to the council in the form of a hand-drawn diagram.
Mitchell asked the council to discuss the pros and cons of each and decide which solution to move forward with.
The double-stack design would cost the least, but because it would display the art closer to the ground, there was concern the art could be damaged from vandals. Also, because there are sharp edges on the art, which consists of cut-out scenes on sheet metal, there was concern someone could get hurt if they attempted to climb the art, and the city could be held liable.
In the end, the council decided to move forward with the two-up design presented by Bitter. However, since some individuals had asked for their art to be returned to them since they had paid for it, Mitchell asked the council to consider allowing these individuals a chance to decide if the new solution would be acceptable. He suggested allowing a window of three weeks for any of the sponsors to come forward and request their art. After that, the city will plan based on the remaining art, where to place the new display poles along Main Street. The council agreed this would be a fair solution.
Community partners may be sought to help with certain aspects of the project, including sandblasting and powder coating the art and the poles, Mitchell said.