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Sheffield looks at winter issues

SHEFFIELD — Christmas gifts and snowfall removal were points of discussion at Monday’s meeting of the Sheffield Village Board.

During Monday’s meeting, which had an extremely light agenda, the village board approved seasonal gifts of $100 for each of the village’s six employees. The board approved the gifts as a way of saying thanks for the employees’ hard work to keep village services running.

Given the recent snowfall, Mayor Bill Rosenow asked Main Street renters to be mindful of keeping their vehicles off the streets during snow removal periods.

One board member said he/she was impressed with the new snowplow recently purchased by the village of Buda and asked whether Sheffield could purchase a similar vehicle.

Noting that Sheffield recently ordered a new truck which is due for delivery in February, Rosenow said the purchase of the truck was finalized and that changing the model wasn’t possible.

There were no reports from board committees and two members were absent so they could watch their children’s school Christmas programs.

Rosenow reported the Danish Church Christmas service was beautiful, but turnout was a little light. However, Santa’s visit drew a large crowd at the township hall, he said.

In an interview with the Bureau County Republican after Monday’s meeting, the mayor discussed the village’s plans for Sheffield for 2014 and beyond.

No. 1 on the docket for 2014 is completion of the playground project, Rosenow said. The project’s goal of $50,000 was met. Working on setting up the new playground will make for a busy spring for village employees the mayor said.

Also, Rosenow said he has talked to two contractors about restroom facilities, but final cost estimates are still up in the air.

Another concern is the village’s perceived water loss issue, Rosenow said. A determination of the cause will have to be resolved in 2014. Some of the loss could be explained through unmetered water usage by the fire department. Periodic water use by hired contractors could be a factor, he said.

On his wish list is money to pay for the blacktopping of streets and a Main Street with new lights, Rosenow said.

In terms of the village’s fiscal picture, the mayor said he was very glad “we have a few dimes at the end of the year.”

Looking to the future, the mayor said a thriving village needs a school, a property base, and businesses to shop in, parks to play in, and churches to pray in. When one part of that mix is missing, the village has to figure out how to fill that void.

“We still would still like to recruit an industry,” the mayor said. “I can’t understand it; land is three times more in the big cities.”

America’s best kept secret is the nearby Hennepin Canal, and Sheffield needs to get involved in promoting the canal parkway by perhaps joining with the Friends of the Canal group, Rosenow said. Also, he would like to see additional facilities added to the Hennepin Canal Park headquarters area to attract more tourists to the area and more business to the community, he said.

Lastly, Rosenow said he had heard that the owner of a lot located near the former Euclid Chemical Plant wants to eventually build a tavern on the property. A tavern located so close to the canal, the interstate, and the village would be a boost to the local economy, he said.

The next village meeting is scheduled for Jan. 6.

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