According to Semcac's transportation director, Erlene Welshons, it's the people of Spring Valley who would make the wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round if a Semcac bus line were to be established here to provide public transit.

Welshons and fellow Semcac transportation representative Wayne Stenberg attended the Monday, Feb. 25, Spring Valley City Council meeting to present the possibility of beginning bus service within Spring Valley to assist those who cannot walk or drive to local businesses or travel outside of town without public transportation.

"We've received additional extra funding to provide public transit in Spring Valley," Welshons stated. "Our biggest concern is to get a bus for the elderly."

A grant had been written for that purpose, and Stenberg and Welshons noted that "this is the first step in the process," adding that the needs of residents must first be assessed through a survey included in utility bills, then action can be taken to determine whether to provide bus service in town three to four hours a day, three days a week or to add a "park and ride" component to the service to allow non-drivers to travel to Rochester if need be, both on a fee basis.

They pointed out that the Minnesota Department of Transportation would cover 85 percent of costs and that "anything else would be a local match."

Mayor Jim Struzyk stated that often when he's working at Sunshine Foods, he sees senior citizens who drive more often in the summer than the winter because they do not want to drive to the grocery store through snow and ice, and that the service would be beneficial.

Stenberg and Welshons pointed out that sustained ridership would determine whether the Semcac bus could remain a part of Spring Valley's transportation network.

Following the meeting, City Administrator Deb Zimmer said that not only is it important for the survey to show a need, but community participation is key. She set up a session for Vision 21 and other community members to hear the details from Welshons, which was to be held last Friday at the library.

Chicken ordinance being reviewed

In another matter, an ordinance under consideration by the council that would allow city residents to raise chickens will be posted on the city website for the public to review, and copies will be available at city hall, according to Zimmer, who asked, "Are there any changes you'd like to make? I suggest we set a public hearing at the March 25 meeting. This ordinance was modeled after other cities' ordinances - Rushford and Chatfield have similar ordinances."

Struzyk stated that "it doesn't say anything about pheasants. Some people have kept pheasants and released them in the spring."

Zimmer concurred that the ordinance does not address raising pheasants, ducks or pigeons, but cited that it "would not allow chickens to be kept at townhomes or in the mobile home park, anywhere zoned R-3 and R-4."

A public hearing was set for March 25.