Public Hearing Minutes September 7, 2021 City Hall, Council Chambers

Public Hearing Minutes
September 7, 2021
City Hall, Council Chambers

Call To Order:
Mayor Skraba called the Public Hearing to order at 5:02pm.

PRESENT: Council members A.Forsman, Kess, Debeltz, Omerza, Callen, Campbell and Mayor Skraba

Ely City Council will hold a public hearing regarding the installation of two bronze sculptures in Whiteside Park. One Voyageur Sculpture will be a full scale 14 foot Canoe and will be placed in the middle of the green space in the northwest corner of the park. The second sculpture will be a 4 foot canoe of Bill Mason will be placed to the north of the band shell.

Mayor Skraba indicated that he has heard from several constituents, and would like a timeline as to how this came about.
Langowski stated that Bill and Holly Rom brought it forward this summer and it has been approved at the Projects committee and Park & Recreation Board has discussed the location of the sculptures.
Mayor Skraba asked if there is anything in the ordinances that indicates what can be put in Whiteside Park. Skraba asked why we don’t have anything memorializing Robert or Sofie Whiteside who gave us the land. Skraba found it odd that we don’t have any other memorials in the park and now we what to put two of them in the park.
Attorney Klun indicated that there is nothing that she is aware of in the City Code or in the Deed when Whiteside gave the park to the City; the general standard is if the council accepts.
Langowski stated that the Rom’s were told that the council would have to approve the sculptures and the locations of the sculptures.
Campbell’s concern is for a sculpture of this size that kids would play on it and hang on it and might get hurt.
A.Forsman asked why a location considered wasn’t where the trail splits in Whiteside Park where the big flower garden is, and then you are not taken up any green space.
Omerza indicated Park and Recreation choose the placements because of lighting in the park, to try to discourage vandalism to the sculptures and help with the security of the sculptures.
Langowski stated that we can look at some different locations for the sculptures; the Rom’s liked the center of the park and by the band shell in lined with the stone sculpture.
Kess indicated that we can bring it back to Park and Recreation Board to discuss the final locations and discuss the comments that the council had tonight.
Mayor Skraba asked how high the sculptures will be as he is concerned about safety. The low part will be approximately 4 feet off the ground and the high part will be approximately 10 feet off the ground. Skraba stated he doesn’t want to eventually see a fence around of it because of safety.
Omerza stated that Park and Recreation Board are open to suggestions of the locations for the sculptures.
A.Forsman asked if we were in the flower garden it would elevate the sculpture a little more and potentially make it a little less inviting. Placing the Voyageur Sculpture at place mark A on the map in our packet is semi in and open area of the park where people play Frisbee and have other events.
Campbell asked about the City’s liability, who is responsible if an injury would happen.
Langowski indicated that it would be like any other city property.
Mayor Skraba stated that when he first heard about this his concern was about taking more green space out of the park. Skraba indicated that he cannot support the smaller 4 foot sculpture; we do not need two in Whiteside Park. Skraba’s concern is what if another group comes in and wants to put up something for the miner’s, what do we do then? There should be a long process to be able to use the park for a permanent monument.
Omerza indicated that we have an open area in the southeast corner of the park that will never be use and will stay as an open area.

Mayor Skraba adjourned the meeting at 5:24pm

Casey Velcheff
Deputy Clerk

Ely Echo September 25, 2021