The Nevis City Council approved Gabriel Veit as an unpaid intern on Monday, July 12.

City Administrator Dawn Veit said she met a city administrative intern from Walker at a recent training seminar, a college graduate who was earning career experience.

“I wished her well, but then I thought, ‘OK, what can I do for others?’” Dawn said.

Reluctantly calling him a guinea pig, she asked the council to offer her son, Gabriel, a similar opportunity. She said he graduated with the same major as the Walker intern, but due to COVID-19, he didn’t intern anywhere.

“This is an unpaid position, and if this works, I would like permission to move forward with offering it to those students that need some help before they can forward their career,” said Dawn.

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Gabriel said he majored in public administration and nonprofit administration, and earned another degree in political science.

Asked what he expects to get out of the internship, he said, “Hopefully, just experience about the job as well as preparation for future endeavors.”

Veit said he plans to move to Florida this fall, and he hopes to find himself working for a city near where he lives. He anticipated that the internship would provide him with “the resources for when I do interview for jobs, that I actually have the experience necessary to do the job and to do it well.”

Mayor Jeanne Thompson admonished Dawn Veit and deputy clerk Kim Wright that having an intern isn’t about free labor, but it represents a commitment to provide education.

“In my own, personal opinion, internships are invaluable,” said Thompson. “Even if they don’t meet expectations you have for the particular position, it puts you in the work world; it puts you out there, seeing how people handle conflicts and challenges and go about making decisions, working with other people, especially in the community.”

Thompson moved to approve the internship, and the motion passed unanimously.

Pickleball discussion

Resident Dave McCurnin brought forward a proposal to build two pickleball courts on a city-owned parcel at the corner of Main Street and 3rd Avenue.

He described the paddleball game, using a solid wood or composite paddle, a perforated polymer ball and a net, as the fastest growing sport in the U.S.

Although he doesn’t personally play the game, McCurnin said the game would provide a fun, healthy activity that could attract visitors to Nevis, benefiting the school, local businesses and city events. He noted that pickleball nights in the school gym have been “packed.”

McCurnin estimated a cost of $40,000 to build the courts, with some dirt work, tree removal, concrete and fencing.

However, he said fundraising options are available, including a GoFundMe fundraiser and several grants. He also suggested that the school’s adult education program could get involved and leagues could be formed to hold tournaments.

McCurnin also reasoned that if the city can raise local donations to fund a playground at Muskie Park, as it recently did, it will certainly find support for a sport as popular as pickleball.

However, Thompson said the city legally cannot do fundraising, so a 501(c)(3) nonprofit must get behind the project. For example, council members noted that the Nevis Women’s Club sponsored the new playground equipment.

Public works supervisor Don Umthun also voiced concern about not being able to use the lot to pile up snow removed from the streets. He estimated that having to haul snow away would cost approximately $5,000 per year.

Instead, Umthun suggested locating the courts in the area north of the city cemetery on West Avenue, although it wouldn’t be as convenient to the downtown area. McCurnin said he would be willing to work with that location.

Council member Sue Gray, who sits on the parks committee, said the group looked at the Main Street lot as a potential location for pickleball courts and concluded that it wouldn’t work due to the city’s need for a place to push snow.

However, Gray said, “Nevis is known now for the recreational events and recreational abilities that we have. What other small town has four parks?”

Without a motion, council members consented to McCurnin moving forward with the concept, focusing on the site adjacent to the cemetery, looking for a nonprofit to sponsor the fundraising, and finding a grant writer to work with.