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Vienna City Council hears special presentation on Spencer’s Landing

From left, Lauren Flanagan and Vic Chen, students, presented their ideas for Spencer’s Landing at the special Vienna City Council meeting at Jackson Middle School. (Photo by James Dobbs)

VIENNA — Vienna City Council held a special meeting at Jackson Middle School on Friday to listen to a presentation from students about the possibilities at Spencer’s Landing.

Council members Jim Leach, Roger Bibbee and Tom Azinger and Mayor Randy Rapp were unable to attend.

Melissa Elam, council recorder, started the meeting and quickly ended it, because there was not enough council members in attendance to call a quorum. Council members Chuck Noffsinger, Kim Williams and Elam stayed to listen and participate in the presentation.

Kristen Allodi, choir director at JMS, said the teachers decided to fill extra time with a project based learning project. She said this project takes the subjects students learn in every day classes and applies them to real community situations.

“It was just a really neat experience,” she said. “There’s not a whole lot of time that you walk down the hallway and you hear kids excited about a project.”

From left, Vienna City Council members Chuck Noffsinger, Kim Williams and Melissa Elam participated in the Spencer’s Landing conversation at Jackson Middle School. (Photo by James Dobbs)

Allodi said Vienna sent out a survey about Spencer’s Landing asking what could be done with it and the teachers of Jackson Middle tasked students with coming up with ideas for the park. She said every Friday students would get together in teams and brainstorm ideas for Spencer’s Landing.

Eighth grade students Lauren Flanagan, Vic Chen and Lillian Farinash presented their ideas to council.

Chen began by giving the benefits of a recreational space on Spencer’s Landing. He said it would benefit the city by providing an enjoyable pastime as it provides recreational activities to people of all ages. He explained that younger kids do not have very many options for activities in the area.

“We want a perfect atmosphere that is flexible enough to be able to hold outdoor activities…” he said.

Chen said with this space they could hold concerts, festivals or even rent it out.

Lillian Farinash, student, presented the bathroom layout during the Vienna City Council special meeting at Jackson Middle School. (Photo by James Dobbs)

Flanagan said that a local area could be used to gain profit for the city. She said the city needs to take advantage of the nice riverside property that is Spencer’s Landing.

“It can be transformed into unlimited possibilities,” she said.

Flanagan suggested a pavilion area or a venue with the addition of parking and restrooms. She gave an example and visual of a riverside pavilion in the city of Elk River. The visual showed a roofed pavilion area featuring concrete flooring and metal picnic tables that could easily be washed off if a flood occurred. The students said it would fit approximately 30 people.

Farinash said this spot could be used for different events like weddings or choir concerts. She also suggested adding overhead street lamps so it is not as dark during the night and new fencing around the property to make the area safer for younger children.

“The more young people that we can get to get involved in these types of things, the better off we will be as a community,” said Noffsinger, thanking the students.

Kristen Allodi, choir director, introduced her students at Jackson Middle School. (Photo by James Dobbs)

Elam encouraged the students to stay active in the community and to help make a difference.

The students traded their information with the council members to stay in touch and in order to keep working on the project together.

James Dobbs can be reached at jdobbs@newsandsentinel.com.

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