Council discusses odors, park, swimming pool


MINSTER – At a recent meeting, Minster Village Council discussion ranged from how to safely open parks and pools to how to deal with odors from the local Dannon plant. Due to COVID restrictions, the meeting was held online via Zoom.

Minster resident Craig Sherman told council he wants to have explanations from Dannon when strong and unpleasant odors are coming from the Dannon yogurt plant located on the south edge of the village.

“Are they (Dannon) taking counter-measures seriously,” asked Sherman. He said he has heard reasons from Dannon that include new waste haulers and failed procedures to break down solids, but he said he would like Dannon to provide root cause analysis of why the odor occurs.

Sherman said in conversations with the EPA, he knows regular documentation of odor issues could help them make a case for Dannon to find ways to control odors.

“I know it seems negative to go this way,” he said, “and I don’t want the negative PR if the issue is out on on social media, but the smell was really bad last Sunday.”

Village Administrator Don Harrod and the Council’s Utility Committee, comprised of Craig Oldiges, Tom Herkenhoff and Curt Albers, plan to contact Dannon to discuss the issues.

In regards to the pending reopening of parks and pools in the village, council’s Parks Committee chair Rick Schwartz said they are in discussions about the myriad issues involved in protecting the public from possible COVID infections while playing sports or using the pool.

“Obviously we need to take measures like shutting down the water fountains and closing the slide and diving boards, but can we close the restrooms?” he said. He said Health Department guidelines limit 1 person for every 113 square feet of water but how would the life guard shut down attendance when the pool is at capacity?”

There were also concerns on how to protect the lifeguards from one to one contact and who would clean and disinfect the facility.

He said issues being considered in opening athletic facilities include who would take responsibility for keeping the areas clean. It might also be necessary to have athletic leaders sign Hold Harmless disclaimers to use the village game fields.

In other business, the Council approved a first reading of an ordinance to award the Minor Street Resurfacing contract to Barrett Paving, which submitted the lowest bid of $191,391.25. It was agreed to have all three readings of the ordinance to give Council time to see how income tax receipts will be affected by the economic downturn.

They also agreed the contract would be awarded with the stipulation that Barrett complete pavement work on an earlier paving project on 5th street.

Council also approved a second reading of an ordinance amending regulations that would use back flow valves to control possible contamination of village water by interconnections in residences and businesses.

Also approved via emergency was a resolution to enter into a $292,500 contract with CDM Smith to create plans for the replacement of the water tower on Ohio Street.

The April 2020 Income Tax Report was accepted by Council. The April total was $361,946.86 and results in a total of $1,464,734.06 for the year thus far.

In his report to Council, village administrator Don Harrod said Helms and Sons continue to work on the Second Street/Garfield Street project. Weather and equipment problems had held up planned curb and gutter installation but the company hoped to begin work this week.

He also said Shinn Brothers work on the new pickleball and basketball courts at Four Seasons Park continues, with subcontractor Woehrmyer Concrete putting down concrete this week, weather permitting.

He said that since the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health had said pools and baseball diamonds could open May 25, he and the Council utility committee are reviewing the mandatory and recommended best practices and will put together a plan so that the recreational facilities can be opened safely.

The village crews have been working on projects including preparation of the area at Four Seasons Park for the installation of new playground equipment and putting up military banners on village street poles in recognition of community veterans.

He also said equipment has been ordered from Winner’s Computers to replace the servers and computers at both the waste water and water facilities. Once the equipment is ordered, they will have CDM Smith install the software to begin the conversion process.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

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