The black hole at Irene Ave. and Highway 8 will be getting some lighting, following complaints and council discussion last week. The Lindstrom city council members said they have gotten calls from concerned citizens, and city staff also have been fielding comments about the loss of a streetlight, which disappeared sometime during the reconstruction of the pairs system through Lindstrom. John Olinger, city administrator, reported he knew some existing light poles would not be replaced, but he is working on a few options to re-illuminate this intersection. Irene and #8 meet across from a lake and next to a school athletic field-- which create very dark surrounding approaches.
Olinger continued on the highway theme and updated council on status of the budget for the reconstruction. The city has utilized only eight percent of what it earmarked for contingency. The downtown area had not seen any major maintenance or replacement of water and sewer, etc. for decades. Underground lines were hard to find, did not connect where they ought to and the extent of labor needed and condition of materials was unpredictable. Olinger said experience has taught him, extra costs “are to be expected on a 70 year old” stretch of road and its ancient underground services. Council member Joe Wishy was questioning some added bills in the claims list from engineering firms. Olinger assured council items are within budget and cautioned that in the future; when sidewalks are being finished he expects to find surprises here as well. Segments of sidewalk will not be able to be saved, and it’s likely very old parts will just be replaced along with new sidewalk being laid. Council member Roger Lindgren brought up his issue with a curb/driveway cut that has not been re-instated on a parcel he controls downtown.
Lindgren said MnDOT ran regular height curb along the First Avenue side of Lindgren’s building in order to add a parking spot, he was told. Lindgren can’t get a vehicle into the garage and he claimed a building renter might walk away without access to freight storage in the garage. Staff assured Lindgren the issue is being looked into. Lindgren said people have been “fooling around” with this matter for months and “I’m not satisfied.” He said MnDOT tells him he’ll have to personally pay to have the curbcut done. City Attorney Joel Jamnik said MnDOT must restore parcels to pre-project condition and if there was a driveway the state will provide that. It was council consensus for staff to keep working toward a resolution. (Lindgren is not seeking re-election and Bill Schlumbohm sr. is the only one who filed for the seat. Joe Wishy is also running for re-election unopposed.) Council also approved a transfer of “undesignated fund balances” into a specific account for replacing vehicles. Council heard auditors don’t like to see undesignated monies and unanimously okayed staff to transfer $45,000. This had been budgeted into finished capital projects like the bandshell, Linden overlook and some funds were from an annexation agreement for Xcel property where the city received a repayment on the difference in property tax between township and city. If weather holds-- construction could begin in a couple weeks on a gully stabilization project off #20 by Signe Street. Council awarded a quote of $31,255 to an Osceola company, J & S General Contracting.
The project is a cooperative effort of SWCD, the Lake Improvement District, metro conservation and Clean Water Fund. Lindstrom’s share is just $4,600. A project to abate a stormwater issue in Beach Park was also awarded, but won’t be done until next spring. Great River Greening got the quote for about $17,000. The city’s engineer Jon Herdegen reviewed new plans for the city parking lot off First and Park St. near what will be Roasterie coffee shop/hospitality house. The city wants to widen the lot access off Park St. so two vehicles can enter and exit together. Council asked Herdegen to be very mindful of more paving creating any excess run-off, because the hill to the lake is nearby. Herdegen said a depression for pooling and a “rock check” as an obstacle to rapid run-off are in the design. This work is being done next spring. Just a reminder-- Lindstrom’s overnight winter parking ban starts November 15. There will be no on-street parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. so plows can move about freely.