By Craig Moorhead

The Caledonia Argus

On June 8, the Caledonia City Council reviewed the 2020 schedule for the city’s aquatic center, which was set to open on June 15 at 6 p.m. 

Current Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines will be observed. Initially, at least, the facility will be restricted to 50 percent of its rated capacity, so no more than 146 patrons will be allowed into the site at any one time. 

According to the city’s preparedness plan, swim center staff will need to perform head counts and do extra sanitizing (at least three times a day) due to the pandemic. 

Group swimming lessons will be limited to no more than 10 people, and customers will be screened for any signs of COVID-19. Lifeguards will have access to “bag value masks” in case they need to administer CPR in order to prevent mouth-to-mouth contact, and will also be instructed to watch for signs of the disease, such as coughing and fever. 

Daily hours are 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The swim season is currently expected to run through August 21.

The City of Caledonia plans to seek bids to replace rusted stainless steel gutters at the facility after the pool closes for the year. 

That work is scheduled to begin in October of 2020, when demolition needed to get at the old gutters will take place. New gutters should go in the following March, and all repairs are expected to be completed in April.

In other news, the council voted to refund 25 percent of on-sale liquor license fees, due to mandatory closures which began in March. 

Members also noted that the Caledonia high school football team is welcome to practice at Veterans Memorial Park baseball fields, which are open to the public.

City officials discussed a request from Caledonia Township for $2,000 to pay for patching and seal coating on the portion of Green Acres Drive which is within the city limits. Noting the roadway does not serve any city residents, the idea of paying for maintenance and repairs did not get any traction with council members. 

By consensus, the council decided they would be willing to turn the road over to Caledonia Township, if the new owners would be willing to have the property surveyed.

City clerk/administrator Adam Swann reported the MDH has determined the City of Caledonia has met certification requirements for a new well (No. 8). 

That clears the way for the city to get a low-interest (1%) loan through the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority. That $333,149 loan will go towards well construction (drilling) that will begin this summer. 

Later, the well house will need separate funding. The design phase for that part of the project is scheduled to start in September.

Swann also reported the city has now received $764,000 in short term financing for design and bidding services for the city’s new wastewater treatment facility. 

That note carries an interest rate of 1.7 percent. When PFA funding becomes available later during the project, the City of Caledonia can pay off the short term note with those dollars, which will likely include a combination of grants and low interest loans.

Finally, Swann reported that the Minnesota State Demographer has added 13 persons to the City of Caledonia’s population total. 

Those estimates are based on the previous year, so the “new” totals are for 2019, reporting 1,266 households and 2,837 persons.

The council also approved a policy for providing body armor for part-time police officers. The city will pay for soft body armor only under certain circumstances. 

First, the part-time officer must not be employed by another department which “requires or provides body armor to its employees.” 

Second, the part-time officer can receive city-provided armor only once every five years. 

Third, the employee needs to work 240 hours per year for full reimbursement, but can receive partial reimbursement on a prorated basis. 

Fourth, the armor must meet National Institute of Justice standards, and finally: “If the vest is damaged or lost as a result of the officer improperly maintaining or wearing the vest, the City will not purchase a new replacement for the officer.”

As part of their consent agenda, the council voted to approve an ambulance services agreement between Mayo Clinic Health Systems and the Caledonia Ambulance Service. 

The pact will provide hospice services, including transportation of “patients, medical equipment, and related supplies.”

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