Cambridge City officials are hopeful they’ll secure the use of a golf cart for volunteers who water downtown flowers.

Council recently encouraged Ken Risch, superintendent of public works, to seek quotes for a utility vehicle for that purpose.

However, prices were much higher than expected, raising concerns about allowing volunteers to drive a costly piece of equipment around sidewalk obstacles.

Once the council learned during their April 10 meeting that town employees could use the vehicle for projects such as clearing snow off sidewalks, and by police and fire departments, it agreed to the purchase with a 3-0 vote.

Council chose a Kubota from Zimmer Tractor for $25,421 over a John Deere for $25,994. Risch said ordering the same Kubota now would cost $27,568.

Michael Amick and Jeff Mardis were absent from the April 10 meeting. Mardis previously opposed the purchase because of cost.

Because several departments could benefit from the vehicle, the council agreed to divide the cost among multiple funds.

Risch said a snow blade can be added to the UTV, which has a covered and heated cab, and visibility is clearer than that of the skid loader.

He said homeowners are responsible to clear sidewalks, but not all do. With a lot of pedestrians moving from the west to the east side, safety could improve if sidewalks were cleaned more easily.

In other business

Utilities: Risch noted some issues with an old water service line that feeds No. 9 Grill and has broken multiple times. Council voted to pay Culy Contractors $10,780 because the project’s location means it’s beyond town employees’ capacity to repair. Water can occasionally get into the restaurant’s basement.

Water project: Work to hook up new lines to the water system is on schedule. Council paid Culy $219,351.67 in the latest installment.

Unsafe building: Risch is pursuing bids for demolition and cleanup of the home at 140 S. Fourth St. approved in March. Complaints have been submitted to Risch about two other properties, but one was cleaned up and one is slowly in progress. 

Fire: Council accepted a $300 donation from Mick and Olivia Fowler thanking the fire department for responding to a chimney fire.

Street closure: North and South Foote off U.S. 40 will be closed from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for the antique fair.

Police grant: Cpl. Seth Biava showed new steel rifle plated vests obtained for police officers through a grant from U.S. Deputy Sheriff’s Association. They arrived around the time of the Nashville shooting.

Parks: Debbie McGinley led the first meeting of the park committee, which has added members, and brainstormed a wish list. Town funds might be leveraged with those from the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program. The committee meets May 3.

Echo View: Jim McLane has talked with state and county officials about the Echo View neighborhood’s private water line issues but did not find a solution. The town could consider annexing the land if residents are supportive, and then tackling the estimated $500,000 project. 

Executive session: Afterward, council discussed potential initiation of litigation.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 19 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.