Jasper Focuses on City Planning and Public Safety

Jasper’s Board of Public Works and Safety met to discuss a number of projects currently underway to support Jasper’s continued growth as well as some discussions regarding resident safety after last week’s storms and the Fourth of July holiday. 

Chief Nathan Schmitt received the board’s permission to get quotes on roof replacement for the police department. The department’s air conditioner will also need replacement, as the unit has stopped functioning. On a more serious note, in his report, Chief Schmitt said that calls for service have increased by about a thousand calls from last year and the department is 2 officers down at the moment. Chief Schmitt expressed his disappointment that the department has been faced with more serious calls involving guns, stolen vehicles, and battery, saying, “It’s not Mayberry anymore.” 

The board accepted a letter of resignation effective June 30 th from a firefighter currently residing outside of the area required to remain a part of the department. Chief Kenny Hochgesang said that there are several applicants for the department, and he received permission from the board to make conditional offers to hire 5 new firefighters with an expected date of employment of August 12 th . 

The Greater Downtown Jasper Business Association was approved to use the city sidewalks around the square for their annual Kids Day on Saturday, September 28 th at 10am. This is the 30 th year of Kids Day, which supports future entrepreneurs. Local children are invited to bring their handmade wares from home and set up booths to sell them on the Square. 

As Jasper continues its renewal and expansion of public spaces, Heart of Jasper received permission to close Piano Alley and the second Astra Alley from August 5-9 in order to paint and seal the second Astra Alley and to seal Piano Alley. In addition, a contract amendment was approved for the multi-use trail, as part of the trail requires redesign in order to accommodate the future property expansion needs of residents in that area. A right of way dedication was also accepted for 4 parcels for the multi- use trail. 

In other news, bids were opened for the proposed purchase of a midi-excavator. Bids will be taken under advisement and there will be a recommendation at the next meeting. The Street Department received approval to award the low bid for a 2.5-ton dump truck with snowplow for just over $200,000. A final discussion was held regarding the bobcat telehandler purchase, which was approved by the board at just over $75,000. 

Street Commissioner Jeff Theising discussed some of the damage around town from the serious rains experienced during last Wednesday’s storms, which brought about 5 inches of rain and flash flooding to much of the city. He thanked crews for all of their hard work and noted that efforts will be ongoing in order make repairs. The board reminded the public to keep yards free of debris and to clear drains before rain in order to be sure that they are draining properly and to help mitigate flooding.

For more information on these and other updates, visit jasperindiana.gov or JasperGov-Indiana on Facebook.

- By Drew Hasselbring