by Beth Hutchinson
For the Pathfinder
November 26, 1998
Utilizing a trial agenda sequence for the first time last night, the Seeley Lake Community Council, facilitated by member Dave Spence, moved quickly and smoothly through its business. Attendees at the meeting seemed to appreciate the altered structure which allowed for guest presentations to be handled at the beginning of the meeting.
School superintendent John Hebnes reported on the 1998-99 school bus routes, noting that where possible, bus routes were run in a reverse cycle so that students who were picked up first in the morning (and rode the whole route) were dropped off first in the afternoon. The Community Council is interested in making sure that bus routes are plowed ahead of the scheduled need for the buses to use them.
Hebnes also reported on the status of the community parks. While expressing his disappointment that there was no co-rec softball to make use of the new baseball facility last summer, he said that he could well understand the fatigue that had set in for the activity's long-term organizers. Hebnes is looking forward to a resurrection of one of Seeley Lake's favorite spring/summer recreations next season.
While missing the $500-1000 customarily raised from the ball season, the school district, with support from the county's summer work program, was able to keep up with grass cutting and other maintenance.
Reminding the council that the park is co-owned by the school and the county, Hebnes said that it would come into the school's possession in entirety in 2005.
To date, grant money from the county and a True Value Hardware program, building project and facility fees have been important for the development of specific activity areas in the park. During the past summer, following the completion of the school expansion project, emphasis was placed on upgrading the children's playground. Twenty-six thousand additional dollars of grant money is being sought from new sources to complete the project.
A key part of the next phase of the plan is the construction of a skate-board facility. A sixty foot square section of land has been reserved for skateboarders, but it will take either the grant money or other contributions to complete the appropriate surfacing as well as ramps and jumps.
Hebnes expressed considerable concern that skateboarders make a commitment to use safety equipment no matter where they are currently skating. Once the park facility is built, no one will be allowed to use it without helmets, knee pads, etc. He urged parents to get their children into the habit of taking care of safety concerns without being reminded.
Hebnes, in response to a query from Cheri Thompson, indicated that individual donations towards the skateboarding facility would certainly be welcomed and that any benefactors could contact him at school.
Next spring plant materials, including shrubs, grasses and good-sized deciduous trees, will be added to the overall park site.
Representatives from two separate, proposed subdivisions on the Double Arrow attended the meeting to answer remaining questions about their projects. Jewel and Bob Starburg, who are seeking to divide their ten acre lot into two portions, said they were aware that this split was already allowable under the earlier, approved subdivision of the Double Arrow. They were going through the process again to be sure that everything about the dividing was just right and professionally handled.
Ed Bezansen, representing the Double Arrow Resort, said that he had received positive comments regarding "The Meadows" from many segments of the local population. He encouraged anyone wanting to take a look at the plans or the site to give him a call.
There was no public comment regarding either of the subdivision proposals.
Reporting on the Highway Pathway Project (now conceived of as a "Crick to Crick" system), Cheri Thompson expressed enthusiasm that ideas and plans for the route were solidifying nicely. Emphasizing that the pathway was being pursued in response to constituent requests, Thompson said that it was truly multi-purpose, being designed to accomodate foot, children's bike, wheelchair, stroller, ski and snowmobile traffic.
As currently designed, the paved pathway would begin on the north side of the Duck Inn where it would connect with the dirt path from the footbridge by Morrell Creek Road. It would run ten feet wide along the east side of the highway to Cedar Street where it would split into five foot portions on both sides of the highway as far as B Street. Then, it would resume running ten feet wide on the east side of the highway south to Locust Lane. Between Locust and Whitetail Drive, it would split into five foot wide sections on both sides of the highway again. Finally, a ten foot pathway would run to the Morrell Creek Bridge by the Double Arrow.
Zoe Mohesky, county planner, shared a collection of maps, photos of DOT-approved lighting fixtures and drawings of alternative lighting designs from other towns with council members. She and Thompson indicated that the Department of Transportation is willing to share responsibility for much of the lighting along the pathway and that they wanted to be as supportive of the committee's desire for eye-appeal as possible.
Thompson showed what could be done to minimize the ungainliness of COBRA lighting by adding baskets for flowers and fixtures to attach flags. She also expressed interest in using flower boxes to soften the effect of the paving in town.
Thompson and Mohesky urge residents to attend the December meeting of the Community Council to give input on the "Crick to Crick" pathway plan. They need to get it into final form before the January 1999 meeting DOT will hold in Seeley Lake to share the completed plan for highway widening and to take public comment.
Thompson said that the pathway project was a direct response to requests to facilitate non-auto mobility in Seeley Lake. She believes that it can bring visitors and residents alike out of their cars and trucks and into more direct contact with the community in a healthy way.
The next regular meeting of the Seeley Lake Community Council has been moved forward to December 14, 1998 to avoid a conflict with the high school musical performance. In addition to presentations on the highway pathway, reports will be given on the footbridge and fire hydrant projects.