Greg Melartin addressed the Spring Valley City Council during the regular meeting on May 30 regarding his request for drag racing within city limits during the upcoming Fins and Films event on July 7. He described the various safety measures that would be in place (fencing, barriers, etc) and the agencies and businesses he has already talked to regarding the proposed event. Melartin stated, “Our main goal is to be safe. The second goal is to do something to put Spring Valley on the map.”
Present at the meeting were Tony Archer, Todd Jones, Mayor Jim Struzyk, Jessy Betts, Mike Hadland and City Administrator Deb Zimmer. Mayor Struzyk and each member of the council voiced their concerns, with Struzyk explaining that after he consulted with a retired judge about liability issues, “I give you an A for effort,… but it still comes back to the city…So, I’m against it.” He added that besides the overall insurance policy (with a suggested coverage of at least $5 million to $10 million), it would be suggested that each driver also carry an insurance “rider” policy specific to this event, since drag racing would not be covered under regular driver’s insurance. Jessy Betts added, “There’s no way for the city to absolve themselves of liability.” Mike Hadland said that the city had checked with an attorney representing the League of Minnesota Cities, who voiced serious liability concerns. Todd Jones said, “I love the idea (of the event),” but he said the liability makes it something he cannot agree to.
Melartin asked about making various changes, such as more barriers, a shorter course or lower speed limits, but the council said the city’s liability would still be too much of a risk. In the end, the council unanimously voted to approve the Fins and Films event as it was last year, but to deny the drag racing request.
The council approved liquor license renewals for Valley Lanes, Rack’s, and TJ’s, pending that all required paperwork is submitted. The council also considered, and approved, a request for the city to take over a private sewer main, as a public main, along North Park Drive, as recommended by Bolton & Menk engineering firm.
The council discussed the two bids that had been received regarding the city’s 14 acres of “hay ground.” After deliberation, the council voted to accept the bid that includes re-seeding of the ground, since that is expected to increase the future value of the land.
Deb Zimmer explained about a needed repair at the lift station, saying, “We have quite a bit of water coming in.” Aaron Hamersma said the pumps have been running several times more than normal usage due to the leak. The council voted to accept the bid to make the repairs at a cost of slightly under $4,000.
Zimmer reported that the city has begun it’s annual efforts at getting properties in compliance with the city’s “junk ordinance.” She said some of the applicable property owners made use of the citywide cleanup, but others did not.
Aaron Hamersma reported on the Wastewater Treatment Plan, including getting the other worker (Cameron) fully trained in. The council gave approval for the fire department to help with coverage at Deer Creek Speedway on a few occasions this racing season, as requested by the Grand Meadow Fire Department. Troy Lange said this would not take away from providing required fire coverage at Spring Valley.
The council accepted a bid from O’Connell Excavating for cleanup from the house fire at 312 W Courtland. The council also discussed, and approved, a request for an EDA loan to Jenn Slifka, for $30,000. The meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m. The next regular meeting of the council will be Monday, June 11 at 6 p.m. As always, the public is welcome.