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home : news : county/state news July 20, 2017

7/15/2017 7:28:00 AM
Cassian board discusses trails, engineering contract

Beckie Gaskill
Outdoors Writer

Trails, both snowmobile and bike, were a hot topic of discussion Monday when the Cassian town board assembled for its regular monthly meeting.

On the agenda were two separate trail requests, one for a snowmobile trail and one to establish a bike route.

Tom Rulseh of the Oneida County Biking and Walking Trails Council asked the board to allow his organization to erect bike route signs on a portion of Fawn Lake Road. The road is already used by bicyclists and the signs would simply be an added safety feature, giving motorists notice that bicycles would be using that portion of the road, he explained. The board granted the request.

As for the cold weather trails, Northwoods Passage asked the board to use .9 miles of Steele Road, 1.3 miles of Goodnow Road and .8 miles of Sand Lake Road for snowmobile traffic. Board chairman Tim Augustine expressed some concern about damage to the blacktop, if snowmobiles were allowed to run on the town roads.

"Then you have studs and carbides," he said. "That's going to cause wear and tear to the blacktop. I'd like to see a route through there. That'd be great, but I don't think this is the right one."

Supervisor Dick Herman also expressed concerns about the proposed route.The board ultimately asked Northwoods Passage members to give the idea some thought and attempt to find a different route for the board to consider.

The next item on the agenda was a walk-in launch on Birch Lake located on a small parcel of land owned by the town in Indian Bay. Ultimately, it was decided that piece of land was not a good place, or large enough, to provide a safe launch area for the lake. The resort on Birch Lake is for sale, and has the only boat landing for the lake. The concern was, if the resort sells, there would be few access options for the 120 Cassian residents and approximately 20 Lake Tomahawk residents who live on the lake.

Safety was cited as the main concern and ultimately the reason the board shot down the idea.

"Just looking at that piece of property, there is very little room.," said Augustine, "And Indian Bay is really shallow, so it wouldn't be an easy landing. Plus, then it's a high traffic area, and kind of on a corner. So, to safely back in there, if that was a landing, there's no parking so you'd just have to drop and go." He also said the speed limit would most likely have to be reduced on the road in that area. Given the safety concerns, the board chose not to move forward with the proposal.

The board then discussed the possibility of purchasing up to 5 acres of land owned by Jim Puchter adjacent to the cemetery. Part of the road into the cemetery is on Puchter's land. Moving the road was not an option, but the board felt it was important to remedy the issue of the placement of the road. Augustine said he would make some calls about the cost of the land and bring his findings back to the board .

In other business, the purchase of a Wacker Neuson plate compactor for the town road crew was approved at a price not to exceed $2,000. Augustine said the town has only a big rolling compactor at this time and it is difficult to use for smaller shoulder work. The board quickly approved the purchase.

The board also agreed to sign a contract with MSA Engineering for the Rocky Run Road culvert project. The culvert was repaired last year and failed earlier this spring. Because the culvert was repaired, the town was not able to find a grant for which the project would be eligible.

Engineering services from MSA would run approximately $9,500.

"They're going to give us calculations for how big of a culvert we need for the flow coming through there," Augustine said. "They are going to give us whether it's going to be a concrete culvert, a metal culvert, a steel culvert, a box culvert. They are going to release all of that once we sign the contract and give them the check."

Because there are trout in the creek, the state requires these services in order to do the replacement.

"With the water flow that's going through there, we're kind of stuck with hiring someone to do the work," Augustine said, adding that the $9,500 is just to start the project and it could run up to $15,000. Projects similar to this one have been completed for $175,000-$200,000, and Augustine said he expects this entire project to come in somewhere near that figure but he noted it has to be done.

The last agenda topic of the night was related to a portable bathroom/restroom unit at the Union Grove Cemetery.

The unit was purchased by the Veterans Ceremony U.G.C., Inc. The group wished to offer use of the unit to the town, and to leave it at the cemetery year-round. This would mean the town would be responsible for anything that may happen to it, Augustine said. The town would also be responsible for pumping the unit as well as cleaning it and locking it during the winter months.

Augustine said it would cost $100 to pump out the unit and it would need to be done twice per year.

"Everything about this, I don't ...," he said. "I don't ever really see a lot of people at the cemetery to have an outhouse open year-round. And if they are looking for a storage spot, I don't think the cemetery is the ideal spot."

Augustine said he had never seen an outhouse at a cemetery and the board decided it would not be a positive thing. Augustine said he would contact Rick Smith and have the outhouse removed.

The meeting was adjourned just after 8 p.m. The next town board meeting will be held on Monday, August 14 at 7 p.m.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached at

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