Upcoming Fire Department Staffing Changes and Partial Road Closure

In a brisk early morning gathering, the Board of Public Works and Safety assembled for their regular meeting. Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang gave a brief report that focused particularly on staffing changes. A year-long leave of absence was approved for one firefighter, and the position will remain open during that time. In addition, longtime firefighter Matt Allen will be concluding his service with the department. Chief Hochgesang said that Allen has been a valuable member of the department, but he had expressed that it was increasingly more difficult to make it out to calls in addition to his work and family responsibilities. Allen’s resignation was accepted by the board and is effective at the end of this month.  

The Engineering Department updated the board on the status of a fifty-fifty sidewalk project at 412 Heusler Street. The project, initiated at the homeowner’s request, will be paid half by the city and half by the homeowner. The board also approved the department’s request to pay a deposit for the new concrete planters surrounding the Square, as a 50% deposit is required before production can begin. The smaller planters will replace the larger ones that were initially installed in order to make parking easier for shoppers and secure the safety of pedestrian traffic. 

Street Commissioner Jeff Theising received the board’s permission to begin the purchasing process for four of this year’s approved budget items. These will include a telehandler, a two- and-a-half-ton dump truck with a snowplow and salt spreader, a portable air compressor, and a crack seal machine. The Street Department also advised that there will be a partial closure of Cottonwood lane north of 2 nd Street. This section of road is part of the upcoming Paving Community Crossings project, and the department is making needed repairs in advance of that work. There is a storm sewer in poor condition, so that will be replaced. Since traffic on the road is one lane each direction, the department will perform the work in stages so that only one lane will be closed at a time to reduce the impact on through traffic. The partial closure could begin as early as this weekend, depending on weather.  

In a final item, Clerk-Treasurer Kiersten Knies advised the board that the five-year lease for the postage machine is up for renewal. Since the contract reflects a price increase of over 60%, other options will be researched before renewing the lease. 

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

 - By Drew Hasselbring