A few members of the Canton Historical Society attended the August 9 Canton, Minn., city council meeting to discuss the need to make repairs at the Mitson House, a museum located on Canton’s Main Street.
The Mitson House is owned by the city of Canton, but operated by the Canton Historical Society. According to Kathie Haynes, in a letter to the council, the Mitson family resided in the house from 1886 to 1981 and was the only family to have lived there. In addition to artifacts from the family, other items from Canton’s history are now displayed there.
Haynes explained that one room of the home is filled with Canton High School annuals and over 30 Canton-area scrapbooks that were prepared and donated by Millie Kyseth.
Another room has four wall photos of the World War I draftees from Fillmore County and the ledgers from the two Canton hotels. There is also the complete original post office donated by Mary Snyder, plus many more Canton items throughout the house.
Dorothy Coons, Greg Turner and Linda Turner attended the meeting and outlined some of the repairs needed at the house, which include window repair, door repair and painting. Other suggested work to maintain the house would include exterior flashing to the flat roof over the kitchen, caulk around the unused upstairs door and scrape and paint the entire exterior of the home.
The work is not as extensive as previously believed and since the house is not on the National Register, and not eligible for historical grants, Coons noted that any competent carpenter could be hired to do the work.
Greg Turner appealed to the council to become more involved in the Mitson House maintenance and asked what portion of the city budget was allotted to Mitson House upkeep. Currently, the city holds a CD in the amount of $15,700 for the Mitson House.
Turner also noted that while the window repair and painting are “not critical” for this year, the work should be done in the near future.
Councilman Randy Gossman volunteered to talk to some local carpenters to see if they can work this project into their schedules.
Coons also noted the Mitson House would be open to visitors during Canton Day Office and she urged the city council members to come in and see what they have to offer.
In her clerk’s report, Anne Koliha noted she has been working with the city engineers to obtain a grant that would allow the city to hire WHKS to work with staff to irradicate lead and copper from homes in Canton.
She also updated the council on the street and utility project timeline, stating that no construction would take place until 2025, at the earliest.
Koliha also noted she has been working to update the violation codes with the sheriff’s office and the court system so enforcement can happen on all levels.
In regards to the nuisance ordinance violators, Koliha reported that the Lindsi Poppe building has been taken down. Also, the owner of the Canton School building, Joel Pfeffer, had come in to talk with her and explained he has every intention to continue his project to make something useable and functional with the former school. As his other projects progress, he told Koliha he will start cleaning up the property and dealing with safety issues. Danny Whalen has also talked with Koliha and is working on cleaning up his lot. He promised it would be done by Canton Day Off, later this month.
Finally, Koliha told the council there are several new employment laws that will go into effect in the coming years, including “sick and safe time,” which will require all employees be given one hour of “sick and safe time” for every 30 hours they work. Also, employees will be eligible for paid family and medical leave in 2026, which will be administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
In the public works report, Jon Nordsving informed the council that the city water tower had been cleaned and the contractors reassured the city that their schedule of cleaning – once in every three years – was adequate.
The city crew had also worked on cleaning 4,000 feet of sewer line, which makes up about one-third of the city system. The targeted area completed this year was north of Highway 52 and the east side of Main Street.
Nordsving also noted he would be doing some lead and copper sampling this month at seven different homes.
The council adopted wording changes to the city’s ordinance code, based on the city attorney’s recommendations.
With an upcoming grant cycle approaching, the council members will be brainstorming ideas for possible projects for the Arlyn Falck Foundation. Amanda Jansen suggested constructing a concession stand at the softball field. Since revitalizing the softball league, there are many people at the softball field several nights a week.
Koliha presented a preliminary budget for review, noting the category of wages had been increased to include the insurance stipend and that the city should consider starting to budget for a new plow truck.
The next council meeting is set for Wednesday, September 13, at 6 p.m. at the Canton Town Hall.