Making it official

By Grace Moore

Grace Moore photo
The Squirrels and their advisor Andrea Wood are well prepared as they report their progress to the council.

Among the guests at the Moorcroft Council Meeting Monday night were many members of the Secret Squirrel Brigade to report on their actions thus far in behalf of the town’s parks and seeking approval of the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the town and the school district so they can move forward with grant applications.

The brigade’s town park committee addressed the council first with printed information handed to each council member before the squirrels began the discussion. The facelift for the basketball court and a parking area at Noonan Park is the first phase.

The basketball court is moving forward with a couple of grants and the investment of a few volunteers to work on the fence and the electricity. They have a price for the concrete for the court floor of $18,000 and will be creating fundraisers and seeking other grants for that. They are also checking prices for asphalt as an alternative surface.

The parking lot is going to see its own dirt work soon with plans already in the offing. The group has verbal agreements with Quality Agg and Flow Tech to help with materials and labor.

The next speaker for the brigade discussed the planting of spruce trees north of the basketball court to act as visual, sound and wind protection. Local businesses, groups and individuals are invited to donate a spruce tree for $250. The trees are being bought from Rocking Tree in Rapid City, SD.

Until the green space issue is resolved, the group has tabled the quest to fund playground equipment and focus on the splash pad.

The proposed time line, suggested by the brigade is as follows: From May to June, a budget estimate from the town is asked to be considered and provided at the next regular meeting ; May through October, they will determine the type of splash pad and surrounding surface for installation; November, they will conduct open meetings for community input; December, submit request for proposals to select companies; January 2019, present to the governing body with four proposals from which to choose for the installation of the pad; Spring 2019, break ground at Noonan Park, beginning splash pad construction and for the 2019 Jubilee, a grand opening for the new Noonan Park splash pad.

The squirrels were commended by Councilman Owen Mathews, “I think it’s an excellent thing you guys are doing, you’re bringing the community together …” a sentiment with which the rest of the governing body agreed as they stood to shake hands with the brigade.

Some of you will never see the fruits and rewards,” Councilman Paul Smoot said. “The fact is you’re building into the lives of the people who will be here. I appreciate that you’re standing here and representing something beyond what you’ll be able to really enjoy.”

Some concern was expressed about support continuing from the incoming council next year; however, Councilman Dick Claar opined that he was sure that the next council do so “as long as you lay it out like you’ve laid it out here …”.

The MOU between the town and the school district was signed allowing the brigade to prepare to move into the “teen room” in the upstairs office space of the MTC with the approval of the state fire marshal as to the safety of the fire escape etc and supervision will be provided by the school district. The restrooms across the hall at the bottom of the stairs will be accessible to the kids, but the gymnasium is not.

The squirrels asked for and received permission from the council to seek out local artists to create a mural on the stairwell wall that will portray, of course wolves.

Mayor Steve Sproul was the sole opposing vote to allowing the kids to use the chosen space citing liability to the town, though the issue of coverage has been addressed within the MOU.