6/18/2021 12:41:00 PM Lions Park pier being finalized, Council gets Wannigan update
The Taylors Falls City Council took the MN DNR up on its offer to pay for the handicap-accessible walkway leading to the new fishing pier at Lions Park, on the river. The short-handed council voted 3-0 to authorize an agreement where the city officially serves as the conduit for the state monies and pays the bill. (Mayor Buchite and Larry Julik Heine were absent.)
Lions member Tim Lauer explained to council the Lions raised donations for the pier portion of the project, and city zoning administrator Steve Heth is working with the group to finalize needed permits and paperwork.
Lawrence Creek Contracting and Marine Dock and Lift are providing installation and site work.
Council approved a request from the CERT program of volunteers for radio replacement. There will be six radios and chargers acquired for $4,753. Speaking highly of the emergency response team council member Mary Jo Murphy said the equipment is about 20 years old and new radios are “very necessary.”
In other public safety news, the firefighters won a grant from Walmart for two new nozzles. They are valued at $1,500 and this is an outright grant, there is no city match.
Damage to streets when water repairs had to be done will be fixed by Prefer Paving. Council unanimously okayed the quote for $3,000 to fix the area at Maple and West Streets.
A lift station improvement was authorized for payment to Andrie Electric, for a quote of $3,994.
Volunteer Wannigan Days organizer Mary Berg, with the Taylors Falls Historical Society, presented an update as part of the public forum agenda item. Berg said after cancelling due to the virus last year the committee was unsure what impact this might have on donations, but she was pleased to request the city officially accept $7,950 that’s been donated. Four donors gave $1,000, she noted.
The Wannigan Days group is “fantastic” Berg added. There will be something for every age group and the committee is dedicated to offering events and activities at no charge.
Wannigan Days will be July 16,17 and 18. There’s a Friday night dance with “Rockin’ Hollywoods’ and bingo and more.
Saturday find a new offering called “Junk Park” for the kids fest starting at 10 a.m. downtown. The kiddie parade is moved to mainstreet at 5 p.m. Line-up is at Romayne’s.
Parade begins at 7 p.m. Watch for further details later.
Newly-elected council member Troy Annonsen asked council to direct staff to send out a “ballot” with sewer and water bills asking residents to vote on if the city should retain the full empty property north of the Drive In as open space. The option is the city will continue to market it for a commercial endeavor.
Taylors Falls entered into an arrangement years ago with the state and Chisago County. The county redevelopment agency (HRA/EDA) loaned money to the city to facilitate a swap with the state Dept of Transportation for the downtown site. The plow trucks and maintenance facility were relocated to a new building next to city hall and a sand-salt storage shed was provided.
According to Council member Murphy the county loan of $150,000 would have to be repaid if the city fails to fulfill its part of the deal— to redevelop the downtown lot into a tax paying parcel.
On a motion by Annonsen to insert a ballot into the bills to take the pulse of the See TAYLORS FALLS/6.
citizens on the future of this site, the vote was 2-1 against. Acting Mayor Ross Rivard said he did not support having to come up with $150,000, which in Taylors Falls amounts to a big percentage levy increase.
Murphy also advised Aanonsen that in the future concepts like this need to go through the accepted process.
There ought to be initial review by the city commission/committee responsible for the area most affected, for example, for open space the parks committee would review this. She was critical the request had not been given any research and was unvetted prior to Aanonsen asking for action.
In public comment, live-streaming of council meetings was suggested, and the city is working on a new website at this time. Fire Chief Jake Vodenka Reed reported the smelt fry went through 300 pounds of fish in under two hours. Also, Taylors Falls and Almelund Fire departments are splitting a gift from Anheuser Busch company of a pallet of water. There are 24 cans in 98 cases coming from the drinking water program sponsored by the company.