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Willmar Police Department plans to use federal grant of more than $134K to assist Gang Enforcement Team

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Police Department will receive a $134,152 federal grant to supplement salaries, benefits and equipment for the Gang Enforcement Team in 2009 and 2010, the City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee was told Tuesday evening.

Police Chief Jim Kulset said the city's application for the grant was successful, and the committee approved Kulset's request to accept the grant and allow the chief to sign the acceptance document.

The committee's action will be a recommendation to the full council at the next meeting on Monday night.

"That's great, chief,'' said committee chairman Doug Reese.

In May, the city received notice from the Bureau of Justice Assistance that the city was eligible to apply for the grant for the police department's Gang Enforcement Team. There is no required local match for the grant, said Kulset.

The council at the July 7 meeting authorized Kulset to apply for the grant.

In other business, the committee met with Steve Roehl, who lives on Olena Avenue Southeast near Ninth Street.

He said Olena Avenue is a nice street, but he said some vehicles are causing noise and speeding problems.

Roehl said he was willing to help solve the problem, and Kulset said he would be glad to discuss solutions with Roehl.

Also, Roehl wondered if traffic on Olena could be deterred to other streets because Olena has only one stop sign between First Street South and Lakeland Drive and is considered an alternative route by motorists.

City Administrator Michael Schmit said the city has not ruled out the possibility of placing another stop sign on Olena.

In other business, the committee:

- Voted to recommend the council set a hearing date to consider the proposed "social host'' ordinance, which would prohibit any person from hosting an event or gathering where alcohol is present and is being possessed or consumed by persons under 21 years of age.

- Approved an equipment change that reduces the cost of constructing the new wastewater treatment plant by $397,788 from $49.1 million to $48,702,212. The change order was recommended by treatment plant consultants Donohue and Associates.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150