May 29, 2024

Afton prepares for park maintenance

The splash pad in the Afton Park square. A chain link fence has been proposed to help keep kids safe from traffic in the nearby street.

AFTON - Safety is the main concern with park renovations potentially coming to Afton Park. A chain link fence surrounding the splash pad has been proposed for the park, which should help protect kids from potential hazards in the roads.

The Afton Park square provides a centerpiece to the town’s local business square, and has been used for events such as the Easter Egg Hunt on March 30. One section of the square, called the “splash pad,” has been a concern for citizens in regards to children safety.

The splash pad is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and functions as a miniature water park, with various water-based fixtures. The concern for citizens is children’s safety while playing at the splash pad.

The street to the east of the splash pad, North Webster Street, has been labelled as a truck route with semis, which can be hazardous for children who might run out on to the street.

The issue was initially brought to the board by Devon Springer, one of the chairs for the Afton Community Club, in the public forum during February’s city council meeting. She proposed a fence to be built to the east and south sides of the splash pad in order to prevent kids from putting themselves in danger.

Some additional renovations proposed that have yet to be approved during the discussion were sidewalks and concrete installations to make accessible walking available for the park gazebo.

Throughout several discussions during the council meeting, Jesse Shade, head of city maintenance and sewer, was available to help answer questions regarding the cost of renovations and other city maintenance business. Following his estimates and information-gathering over the course of the next month, the board will vote on the approval of the renovations during next month’s council meeting.

In other Afton city news...

Two livestock permits were approved. The board tabled discussion related to modifying details relating to the livestock permits for next session. Some changes discussed were based on creating a max number of animals per permit and potentially adding a fee for the permit.

A major difference between the pet licensing fee and the livestock fee would be the difference in per-animal cost. The pet licensing fee applies to each individual animal, while the livestock fee would be for the permit as a whole. These changes were only proposed changes, and won’t be enacted until further discussion during a future council meeting.

Bees as livestock were also discussed, with the council choosing to let aspiring beekeepers free to keep bees without city regulation. The practice is relatively rare, and the city claimed beekeepers will be responsible without the need for regulation.

City council approved a DNR grant for building a nature playground for the Early Childhood Center. The project to renovate the former Afton Care Center into an Infant Toddler Center for East Union will use the funding to build a playground for young children to help connect them with nature.

The city approved a public hearing for 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 23, for the adoption of the city budget for fiscal year 2025.

The council discussed options available to allow Steve Gilbert, who runs Gilbert Home Comfort in Osceola, to build mobile home parks in Afton. Gilbert had been looking to build affordable housing through these mobile homes, creating permanent homes for families. According to information relayed to the board, the company didn’t want to be “landlords” but simply own the land the homes will be built.

The city approved the hiring of Toni Landers as a temporary city clerk during the time when city clerk Kayla Lacina will be on maternity leave. Landers had previously held the city clerk position in Afton but retired earlier this year.

Nick Pauly

News Reporter for Creston News Advertiser. Raised and matured in the state of Iowa, Nick Pauly developed a love for all forms of media, from books and movies to emerging forms of media such as video games and livestreaming.