Nevis city properties dealing with water issues

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The Nevis Fire Hall has been having water problems since 1980. Heavy rain came in so fast Aug. 7 that the floor drain couldn't keep up. Mold testing has been done, and the department is looking into options to mitigate the water problem. (Enterprise file photo)

Heavy rains this summer have exacerbated water problems at the Nevis Fire Hall, while water issues at the municipal liquor store appear to be related to the facility’s old air conditioning system.

Both problems were discussed at Monday night’s council meeting, which was held on Zoom because of water issues in the city hall meeting room as well.

The Aug. 7 storm, later confirmed to be an EF1 tornado, took down many trees in town last Friday and brought heavy rain.

Public Works Supervisor Don Umthun said washouts are being addressed. “It will take a couple of weeks, but we’ll get them done,” he said.

The council thanked Umthun and the Nevis Fire Department for their help with storm cleanup. “We were out until about 1 a.m. cutting up trees to clear the roads,” Fire Chief Chris Norton said.


“I don’t think there was a street that didn’t have a tree laying across the road,” Deputy Josh Oswald said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Depending on who you talk to, I’ve heard anywhere from three and a half inches to over five inches we got in that last rain.”

“People stopped me Saturday to thank both the fire department and sheriff’s department for the quick cleanup,” Mayor Jarod Senger said. “Our primary responsibility is the safety of our residents, and between your departments you once again demonstrated an outstanding response.”

Water problems at the fire hall

“Over the last couple of rainfalls our fire hall has been a mess,” Norton told the council. “It smelled like we had about 20 cats in our meeting room.” He said he was told that may be a sign of mold.

Norton said during the recent storm rain was coming into the fire hall so fast the floor drain couldn’t keep up, leaving standing water. He told the council there’s about a foot difference between the road and the fire hall.

“There’s no sense fixing anything until we even out that grade. Every spring we have issues,” he said. “I wouldn’t throw any money at this building until that’s fixed. We can get new sheetrock, but in a year we’d be throwing it out again. You can’t make the grade any higher because you can’t put the door any higher. It’s been a perpetual issue since 1980.”

Suggestions discussed were a retaining wall, concrete angled along the side of the building, drain tiles or gutters. Runoff from the roof and road both need to be addressed.

“I haven’t gotten a concise answer from anybody about the best option to mitigate it,” Norton said. “We’re going to have to do something, but I don’t know what.”

Mold testing results will be shared with the council at the September meeting.


Condensation issues at muni

Interim managers Erin Rhoades and Carolyn Moen said they believe major condensation issues with the air conditioning at the municipal liquor store caused ceiling tiles to fall down, water on the floors and dripping on tables and standing water two inches deep on the main beam.

Tweeten is working on a bid to fix the entire cooling system, which currently has three small units. One unit is reportedly 25 years old.

“Obviously, that has to be addressed,” council member Rich Johnson said. “We can’t have our patrons sitting with umbrellas inside.

In other action, the council:

  • Tabled approval of the preliminary 2021 city budget until September so the city has time to explore adding a full or part-time police officer.

  • Approved Tyler Lindow’s Eagle Scout project to install stairs made of treated wood going from the Halvorson Beach boat dock up the hill toward the pavilion. “I think it would be a welcome addition to the park,” Senger said.

  • Heard the Muskie Park playground project is nearing completion. Damage to a power line is being addressed by the contractor.

  • Approved up to $1,000 from park funds for a metal sign for Muskie Park from Innovative Sign & Graffix. One side of the sign will dedicate the park to this year’s senior class and the other will list donors. A small dedication is tentatively planned for mid September. The council approved spending up to $300 for that event.

  • Heard that Phase 2 for a handicapped addition to the Muskie Park playground has been put aside for now because of the prohibitive cost to meet all of the requirements.

  • Heard two new staff were recently hired at the municipal liquor store. Interim managers reported that a Bob Johnson Memorial Golf Tournament at Eagle View is in the planning stages with a ceremony at the bar afterwards. The council approved a $500 budget for an Oktoberfest event with music and outdoor seating. They also discussed the possibility of Sunday brunch catered by an area restaurant.

  • Discussed capital improvements at the liquor store including a crash bar between the on- and off-sale and caulking cement to help keep water out of the basement.

  • Heard the fire department had two new applicants, bringing the total members to 23.

  • Approved up to $3,000 for a sign on the fire hall and putting the new logo decals on trucks.

  • Heard the fire department will be receiving a pallet of hand sanitizer with a total of 104 gallons they can share with other agencies.

  • Thanked Walmart for donating a pallet of bottled water to the fire department.

  • Heard from Oswald that call volume was high during the past month, and he has been in contact with school staff in preparation for students getting back to classes.

  • Received an invitation to attend the pollinator garden and mural dedication on Friday, Aug. 21 from 10 a.m. until noon.

The next Nevis City Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14 in the council meeting room.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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