Park clean up planned in Manawa
By Jane Myhra
Public comments highlighted the May 18 meeting of the Manawa Common Council.
Jamie Lane, of Winemaker’s Daughter, encouraged the council to consider granting a special use permit to allow outdoor seating for her business.
She said there is only room in front of her establishment for three small tables, with two chairs per table.
Lane would like to be allowed to serve alcohol at these tables.
David Augustine announced he has organized a cleanup of the city of Manawa’s Lindsay Park.
He said the Little Wolf River Trails Organization project featuring help from Rawhide will be done on May 28 and June 2.
According to Augustine, the purpose of the project is to “clean up, cut down unwanted trees, bushes and brush; clean up garbage such as cans, paper, pails, tires and other materials; and generally clean out the entire area from poisonous and/or dangerous plant life.”
The project will begin near the bridge by Suehs Motors between the baseball and softball fields and continue north to the old Sturm Foods building.
Alderman Mike Frazier asked if Augustine had permission from the railroad for this project. According to Frazier, the Fox Valley & Western Canadian National Railroad owns 50 feet of right-of-way out from the center of the track.
Mayor John Smith expressed a concern about liability.
“We need to make sure this type of project first goes to committee,” Smith said, “so we can follow through and get recommendations from the property owners.”
“I have the theory that when something needs to be done, someone has to do it,” Augustine said. “It’s something that should have been done for years. Sometimes an individual just needs to step up, no matter what the consequences.”
“I have nothing against anyone doing something to beautify the city,” Smith said. “We just need to follow procedure to protect the city and everybody involved.”
To this, Augustine replied: “Things have moved way too slow. I believe in projects moving forward.”
In other business, Alice M. Brown reported that the Protection & Welfare Committee discussed dog ordinances, house numbers and city chickens.
The committee decided not to change the dog ordinance, which allows two dogs per residence; to research allowing chickens; and to encourage people to update their house numbers.
Circulation is holding steady at the Sturm Memorial Library, according to the annual report presented by Library Director Ellen Connor.
Although circulation was down slightly in 2014, Connor said it is up about 8 percent so far in 2015.
“Overall, the trend we’re seeing is that people are not checking out (as many) physical items from libraries,” she said.
There has also been a decrease in usage of library computers, which Connor attributes to an increased use of the library’s wireless network.
The Sturm Memorial Library offered more than 330 programs in 2014, with over 3,700 people attending those programs. Most of the programming was for children.
In the future, Connor plans to increase adult programs and offer a maker box program for children. This traveling program will include hands on activities in sewing, podcasts and 3-D printers.
“Libraries will all have 3-D printers in about three years,” Connor said. “It’s coming faster than you think.”
The future plans for the local library include adding more seating space and more rooms for programming. The library board has also discussed an expansion.
Again this year, the Sturm Memorial Library will present a National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 4. The library sponsors this event with help from other entities in the community.
Connor expressed appreciation to the council and to the community for supporting the library.