At the March 4 city council meeting, Preston City Administrator Joe Hoffman provided the state’s survey map and legal descriptions for the property that is expected to be the future site of a state veterans home. The city has a purchase agreement with Robert Doherty for the property.
The surveyed area includes 14.43 acres. Once the option to buy is exercised and the city purchases the property, the property can then be conveyed from the city to the state.
The state is requesting 2.2 acres of permanent grading and slope easement along the west side of the property and on the east side of the entrance to the property.
Mayor Kurt Reicks said he expects it may cost the same to purchase one acre of permanent easement as it will cost to purchase one acre. The purchase price for the property is $14,000 per acre.
The council discussed the need for the permanent easements and whether they should be permanent. If the city decides to purchase the permanent easements as requested, the total purchase will involve 16.6 acres.
Hoffman said he will clarify this request before the next council meeting. The council will also have to approve an option agreement, which will allow the conveyance of the property from the city to the state. Hoffman explained this will have to happen quickly, before March 20. Reicks commented that he may call a special city council meeting before the next scheduled meeting if necessary.
No action was taken this day. City Attorney Dwight Luhmann and Hoffman will need to get clarification regarding the council’s questions with Doherty and with the state.
Hoffman said there is a verbal agreement with Chris Joerg to purchase 1.4 acres located near the water tower. Luhmann has drafted a purchase agreement with a price of $23,500, which will be shared equally between the city and Preston Public Utilities. Joerg will retain ownership of the utility shed and will remove it later this spring. The purchase will make utility access easier.
Other business in brief
• Approval was given for Mayor Reicks to attend the Minnesota Mayors conference on April 26 and 27 in Stillwater. The estimated cost for registration, lodging and travel is $650.
• The 2019 Trout Days Fireworks Agreement with J & M Displays and a permit for the fireworks show were approved. The total cost is $5,500, of which the city funds $4,500. The balance is funded by the fire department and donations. The fireworks site will be on the Welch property off the end of Overlook Dr.
• A request for a two-hour parking zone to be established in front of Pam Ristau’s office on St. Anthony was discussed. Holly Zuck explained they have been asking people to move their vehicles that stay through the night (residents in nearby apartments). Reicks noted parking zones are hard to enforce. No action was taken.
• S & P is in the process of updating the city’s bond rating. Hoffman explained it is updated every few years. The last interview was four years ago. The update from S & P will be issued in the next few months.