2/21/2013 9:24:00 PM Hampton to give children a voice in city government
by Olivia Detweiler
The Hampton City Council is making sure children are taking an active role in the community. At its February 12 meeting, the council unanimously approved a Junior Advisory Board.
The members of the board will be children from the community and they will hold monthly or bi-monthly meetings where they can give their input and suggestions for activities and events. The council members thought it would be a valuable learning opportunity for the children.
"Getting them involved in city government is a great idea," council member John Knetter said.
Mayor Timothy Skog said there would be a sign up sheet at the city hall for the children who are interested in being on the Junior Advisory Board.
The council approved setting up a Little Free Library at the City Hall. Mayor Skog said he would provide the bookshelves for the library and the only cost would be $20 for the sign placed outside of city hall. City Clerk, Wendy Carpenter, and Mayor Skog both said they had a lot of children's book they could donate to the library.
Knetter said it was a fantastic idea, but wondered how it was going to be supervised.
Mayor Skog explained that it would only be open during office hours when Carpenter and Deputy Clerk, Mikayla Fischer, were in the building.
"If it's just when the city hall is open, we wouldn't have a problem with that," Carpenter said. "Especially during the summer, if they want to pop in and grab a book, like the Mayor said."
Old City Hall
The old city hall was a topic of discussion again this month, but the council did not make a decision regarding the future use of the building.
Council member Amanda Jensrud, who also serves on the planning commission, informed the council on what the commission's thoughts were on the topic.
"It was the strong recommendation that we rent it out...and if we weren't able to rent it, the second recommendation was to sell it," Jensrud said. "We did not think a youth center was feasible right now."
Mayor Skog did not agree that the youth center was not currently possible.
Knetter said he did not think the building was up to code for it to be a public government center and if this was the route that the city wanted to take, then the first step was to have the city inspector come and inspect the property.
Jensrud asked Mayor Skog about the types of activities the youth center would have and where the city would get the equipment for them.
Mayor Skog said there could be a pool table, darts, a coffee shop, pizza and arcade games. He told the council that he knew people who were interested in donating this equipment.
The staffing for the youth center was also a concern for the council.
"I want to see more data on who's going to staff it," Knetter said. "I can think back to four or five years ago at the ice rink, we couldn't keep a schedule of volunteers to keep the warming house open."
Mayor Skog explained that it would not be all day, so volunteers would be needed for only a few hours each day.
The council agreed to keep looking at all options, but also wants the planning commission to continue working on the permits needed to rent the building, in case that is the option council chooses.