1/24/2013 10:26:00 AM Highway access needs tweaking, store owner asks
BY DENISE MARTIN
When parking needs to be expanded in an urban area one easy way to add a few spots is to create a one-way street.
That’s what Lindstrom and MnDOT designers did along Park Street, addressing parking when the highway rebuild was being laid out. The city council heard last week this leaves the hardware store, at the corner of Park St. and the highway, with a problem. Customers have to back-track to use Park St. from the south to get to the store.
Owner Jeff Blesener asked the council last week if this could be reviewed. “It isn’t working, it’s inconveniencing customers,” he stated. To allow for an eastbound highway traveler to turn onto Park, though, parking spots on the highway will be affected. Snap Fitness owner, from the audience, commented that he’d oppose any reduction in parking in front of his place for making Park Street two-way again.
Blesener responded that he’s one of few businesses providing a lot for customer vehicles, at his own expense, and that ought to mean something too. Mayor Keith Carlson asked the city engineer if he’d take a cursory look, just for a quick cost estimate to return Park to a two-way street. Engineer Jon Herdegen said he could do that for minimal expense and would report back. Mayor Carlson added if there’s going to be changes, the time is now, before the final asphalt is laid and spring landscape details are installed. A change order would be at Lindstrom’s expense, because council long ago gave “municipal consent” on the design authorizing MnDOT to proceed.
Also related to downtown issues was another appearance by Jeff Lavik, who has previously acted as spokesperson for struggling businesses. Lavik said the county’s economic development authority director announced micro-loan availability at the last council session, but it isn’t sufficient. Lavik told council the process to apply for the special gap loans “is far too difficult.” Council member Anne Marie Brink, who works in finance, offered to meet with affected businesspeople and even bring loan processing paperwork to them. She added that there’s a level of citizen-responsibility to follow through, and basically government can’t “wave a wand” and make money available. Nancy Hoffman, County HRA/EDA Executive Director, 674-5664 is coordinating applications through two public sector micro-loan programs-- if Lindstrom businesspeople are interested in learning more.
In other matters: ~ Colleen Sherman used the public comment portion of the agenda to ask if she could purchase a 25 foot strip off a city lot, on Terryl St. next to her house, that’s been listed by the city for sale. The planning commission will review the request to make sure an adequate-sized lot would remain if a slice was sold.
~ Council acknowledged receipt of approximately $800 from the family of Doris Lent, for installing a memorial bench near Morningside Court and Olinda.
~ Liaison Curt Flug explained to council that Planning Commission members are looking into outlawing trapping in Lindstrom. State law allows trapping of designated species on public lands, waterways, etc. A trap was found in Allemansratt Park and it was delivered to the police-- who promptly advised the finder to put it back. This sparked a discussion about using city parkland or use of any city-owned land for trapping and possible drafting of an ordinance that’s stricter than what the state allows. The trapping ban is currently in the discussion stage.
~ The summer outdoor concert series still needs about $2,000 in donations to help bring music groups to Lions Park for Harmony in the Park evening shows. Contact city hall if you’d like to help.