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Goessel mayor leads $2.5M sewer project

Staff writer

Dave Schrag has retired from Marion Die and Fixture after 34 years, but Goessel’s mayor still has plenty on his plate.

Schrag is heading up a $2.5 million project to fix and renovate the city’s sewer lines.

Schrag said the sewer pipes had numerous cracks, which allowed rainwater to run into them, causing a buildup of water in the lagoons.

“The lift pumps couldn’t handle the water,” he said.

Casey’s Construction is doing the work.

Broken areas have already been dug up and repaired. Pipes and several manholes have been replaced.

New lining that is guaranteed for 50 years is now being installed. The flexible lining is placed through manholes, then steam-treated to expand and solidify it.

New service connections are being installed at every residence and business, causing some disruption for homeowners.

“People aren’t happy,” Schrag said. “They have large holes in their yards.”

He said residents would like to know when their yards will be dug up, but that’s hard to say. The company works 18-hour shifts and promises to have all taps open before it shuts down, so homeowners won’t have to go without water.

For that reason, the company has to choose where to work each day if it hopes to keep that promise.

Residents will be responsible to pay for the repairs to their private lines, Schrag said.

“People are upset, but I’m glad it’s being done,” Schrag said.

Two new submersible pumps have been installed at the lift station, which bring the sewage up from the buried pipes to the lagoon.

“The new pumps will provide safer working conditions for city employees,” Schrag said.

Work also is beginning on removing sludge from the first of four lagoons. It will be spread on farmers’ fields.

Security enhanced

Anthony Voth of McPherson is a part-time police officer for Goessel.

“He is doing an excellent job,” Schrag said.

To help him and provide more security, surveillance cameras are being installed around town.

Two on the shelter house in the city park will make the park Wi-Fi ready, Schrag said. Keith’s Foods will have four cameras, front and back, and two will be on the city building on S. Cedar St.

Schrag credits Goessel’s city clerk, Jennifer Whitehead, with researching and securing grants for town improvements. A Community Development Block Grant provided $500,000 for the sewer line project. Kansas Department of Health and Environment contributed $600,000.

In retirement

Schrag is in his seventh consecutive year as mayor. He served an eight-year stint earlier.

Nine months ago, he decided to retire from his job at Marion Die and Fixture on his grandson’s fourth birthday, Oct. 30. He worked there for 34 years.

He did many different things, such as purchasing, designing, and tool making.

The last 15 years he ran an electrical discharge machine that uses fine wire to cut precise pieces out of steel plates. Designs were programmed into the computer-operated machine.

Schrag said the company has seen many changes. It was located in downtown Marion when he started working there.

Draft tables and all kinds of hand tools like pencils, T-squares, and protractors were used to design pieces.

Things changed a lot in 1987, when the Internet became accessible, he said.

Bradbury Company bought Marion Die and Fixture in 1999. The company gives its employees the opportunity to go as far as they want, he said. Applicants don’t need experience or a college degree if they are willing to learn on the job. Schrag said he enjoyed doing different tooling every day and accepting the challenge of learning a new project and getting it done.

“The people were fun to work with,” he said.

Schrag said his two grandsons, who live a block away, are his pride and joy. He likes to spend time with them.

He also enjoys playing golf with other retirees.

He has an insulated machine shop to work in. Right now, it holds his father’s WD Allis Chalmers tractor, his grandfather’s 1949 GMC pickup, and his son-in-law’s 1928 Model A. All need work.

“But my grandsons are my number one priority,” he said.

Last modified Dec. 5, 2019

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