The Spring Valley City Council approved taking ownership of the former elementary school property when it met during a regular meeting on Monday, July 22.

The property was offered to the city for donation by Lynn Schmeling. The property is the site of the former elementary school, which was demolished and removed by Schmeling. According to City Administrator Deb Zimmer, it will end up in tax forfeiture eventually as the current owner has previously stated he will not continue to pay the taxes.

The grounds are in need of a major overhaul; first the maintenance crew would need to remove all the large rocks in order to mow the property. Once this is completed they will be able to determine if the ground needs to be leveled.

"I've had a few calls on the weeds down there with people wondering why we don't take care of it. There's no way he's going to do it, so the city needs to go in and do it," Mayor Jim Struzyk stated. "If he wants to donate it to the city, we're better off taking it and cleaning it up, then turning around and getting some money out of it if we can."

Fortunately, this would be more labor-intensive than costly for the city, as it would be able to use its summer help for the project.

The council agreed to accept the donation of the former elementary school property, as the council members said saving this property is in the best interest of the community.

The council also discussed more improvements for the bike trail and the city streets. Bargen Incorporated sent a bid to complete crack repair to the bike trail at the campground trail from the maintenance garage driveway to County Road 8, as well as the north park trail across from the maintenance garage driveway at County Road 8 to the Sunshine Foods area.

The council agreed to repair these parts of the trail at a cost of $8,509, which will come out of the trail fund.

The southeast portion of Spring Valley will see an upgrade on the streets, as the council agreed on improvements for Fremont, Franklin, Buchanan and Valley avenues, and Franklin, Park, Church and Division streets, all of which were chosen due to the deterioration of their pavement. The council approved 100 infrared patching treatments, which will be dispersed throughout these streets at a cost of $15,000. The original bid suggested 150 to 175 treatments, but with budget concerns it was decided to focus on the worst areas before the chip seal is laid and then next year it will complete the final 50 treatments.

In other business:

• David Wetter addressed the council to discuss his possible annexation from Spring Valley Township. He verified the fees incorporated with the switch to the city of Spring Valley and asked the council to consider grandfathering in his horses. The council agreed to check with Fillmore County on its policy with animal units. This will be addressed during the next meeting.

• Dianne Sikkink told the council the library finished its successful summer reading program on July 24 when they had Magic Norm perform. "We had great attendance throughout the program this summer, with the average attendance for Wednesdays programs being 65," Sikkink stated. The highest number of attendees, 94, was during the opening program.

The Spring Valley library is being used by more than just local people. So far this year they've had over 1,700 visitors, with some traveling from Nevada, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

• City maintenance supervisor, Chad Hindt, told the council they have been working hard trying to keep up with the growing weeds and grass while making time to put in new playground equipment at Spring Creek Park. He noted they had finished repairing the rock along the new section of the bike trail.

• The pool is still going strong and holding water according to Parks and Rec director John Fenske. As the summer winds down so is the summer rec program with the last day being Monday, July 29.

• Council member Todd Jones recognized Chris Czapiewski's retirement from the ambulance service after 27 years. Jones also wanted to thank everyone in the community for supporting the grand opening of his True Value store this past weekend.

• Finally, Zimmer noted that the County 1 Main Street project is now on hold until next spring.

• The next council meeting will be held Aug. 12 at 6 p.m.