By Michael Kloppenburg
The Ashland village board discussed building a community center for the village at their monthly meeting last week. The board discussed as a possible asset in revitalizing Ashland, particularly the downtown. Tom Heather, director of the Cass County Housing Authority, and Dwight Reynolds, representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture, attended to discuss a community center. Few details were available, but a possible maximum capacity of 300 people was discussed.
Reynolds said there may be funding for the project available in the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Enterprise Grants.
Mayor Terry Blakeman said that it appeared that a center could be built and it may increase village revenues.
“I think where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Blakeman.
Mayor Blakeman and other board members said they have seen or have received complaints of persons driving recklessly on village streets. In a statement, the board said this is “a very serious concern” and the board is committed to “do something about the reckless driving problem.”
Blakeman said Ashland’s water usage numbers pointed to a leak or leaks somewhere in the village. The board passed a motion to hire an inspector to examine the village lines. The board cautions residents that the inspectors might be doing their work at night because that is the time when they are most likely to detect leaks with audio equipment.
Blakeman also touched on charges for water the village is receiving from North Morgan Rural Water Co-op. The fees have jumped each of the past two years and Blakeman said this is not sustainable for the village. He said the village may be able to re-negotiate its contract with North Morgan.
Ashland fire Chief Jeff Degeal reported that 46 children received toys through the fire department’s Toys for Tots program and 26 families had received food through the food basket program. He also said the department has completed a 10-year renewal of its Federal Communications Commission license for radio communications.
The board passed the Grease Interceptor Ordinance that had been under discussion in previous meetings. This ordinance is intended to reduce the problem of grease buildup in Ashland’s sewers.