At the July 12 Peterson City Council meeting, Councilwoman Gail Boyum shared that she’d been approached by visitors to the city as she worked in the garden in back of the museum, asking where the gnomes were throughout the city and if there were gnomes for sale. It turns out that Peterson has gained notoriety on Facebook in the group Quirky Minnesota Places; now people are visiting just to find the gnomes.
Gail ended up kindly sharing a few locations including her own garden. At the meeting she donated 10 more metal gnomes to be placed around the city, and encouraged citizens to “put your gnomes out where people can drive by and see them!”
Boyum, a member of Friends of Peterson, encouraged citizens to also help in creating the garden on city property behind the museum in honor of John Erickson and veterans of the city. She asked for donations of perennials from citizen gardens as well as cement benches, cement round picnic tables, bushes, and larger trees. People who would like to adopt a berm and care for it are encouraged to volunteer.
The Friends of Peterson will also be selling pavers which will be placed throughout the garden. The pavers, which are 8” by 12” gray granite made by Lewiston Monument, will include the name of the veteran as well as the years served and the branch and rank. The cost will be $300 each.
Several city residents visited the council meeting to share their concerns. Loren Rue asked where the city was in its city walk around to check on “distressed properties.” Apparently, letters had been sent to four residents regarding the appearance of their property. Rue opined that he felt there were at least 10 that should have received letters. He asked what those properties are doing to the value of neighboring homes and stated this has been a problem for over 10 years.
Elizabeth Connor had three comments. First she wanted to know fence height and distance limits from the curb and alleyway. She is considering building a fence and wants to make sure it doesn’t need to be changed after construction. She feels the need for a fence because she feels her neighbors have been harassing her; she told the council they shouldn’t “get involved between neighbors.”
Connor also claimed the state and county need to visit Peterson to check on misuse of city equipment during off hours on private property by city employees.
In her third comment, Connor declared that Peterson should not have the wife of the administrator serving on city council.
Lisa Price and her husband Chris complained to the city about rodents, weeds, and dogs in their neighbor’s yard. Price said they have to pick up after the neighbor’s dogs before they can mow their own yard. The Prices asked that the city monitor the alleyways more and noted they may need to build a fence for their yard.
Mayor Chris Stenzel asked former Mayor Tim Hallum about follow-up procedures for the walkabout. Hallum responded that he and another councilmember would personally visit the homes about a month after letters went out. Stenzel intends to continue that procedure.
Stenzel reminded citizens that they can meet with the mayor in the even months on the fourth Wednesday usually to discuss issues. He will be out of town that day in August, but hopes to make an alternate day available or have it held with other council members. Stenzel felt this would be a good way to deal with some of the issues brought up during the citizen comments. He commented, “Get the people together to just talk!”
Business of the council
In regular business the council:
• Approved the lodging tax which added taxing for Airbnbs;
• Learned that PWD Tim Hallum is looking at mowers for the city which could replace two other pieces of equipment; he will let the council know when a machine is being tested;
• Accepted the donation of $1,038.80 from the Legion to purchase new flags for city flagpoles;
• Learned a city sign had arrived to be added to the city sign along the highway; the sign states, “Established July 1, 1853” and has bluffs and trees decorating it. Friends of Peterson with a generous donation from the Legion covered the expense of the sign.
The next meeting of the Peterson City Council will be at 6 p.m. on August 9 at city hall. The public is welcome to attend; a public comment period is available for citizen input.