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Lanesboro Council: Water park given go ahead

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Raindrops? In December? The Lanesboro City Council turned its attention to a different kind of raindrops at the December 2nd meeting as RainDrop Products president Ron George presented information on "spraygrounds," water play areas. According to George, by utilizing a computer system to turn water features on and off (like dancing fountains) and a recirculating pump, a sprayground is inexpensive to run. The proposed Lanesboro sprayground would cost between $800 to $1,000 per year for electricity and chemicals, would not increase insurance costs for the city, and would need only 50 to 100 gallons of water for the system weekly and 200 gallons of water per filter flush once every two weeks. George touted the safety of the water play area, pointing out that the water is completely cleaned every ten minutes and that insurance companies consider the sprayground even safer than standard playgrounds. The play area would need no lifeguards (it has no standing water) or changing facilities, keeping expenses down further. The council voted to proceed with the project to be bid locally with a construction start date of late March and a target opening date of June 1.

Committee Reports•Utilities Commission. The council then moved on to committee reports, learning from council member Kevin Drake, who sits on the Utilities Commission, that the electrical rates have not been raised in over eighteen years and the recent rate study was now recommending a 37% increase for residential rates and a 17% increase for commercial rates. Currently, a diesel-powered generator is being considered as well. An audience member suggested more emphasis be placed on conservation such as energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. Council member Hal Cropp mentioned the obvious economic incentives that a rate increase would bring. •Planning & Zoning.Council member Jerome Halvorson reported that the Planning and Zoning Committee would be meeting with the State of Minnesota building inspector to find out more about adopting the Minnesota Building Code. While adopting the code would necessitate the hiring of a building inspector (with the cost passed on in building permit fees), quality building would be ensured and building insurance costs could possibly go down. •EDA. Hal Cropp requested $15,000 from the council to fill the EDA position. Council member Peggy Hanson balked at the idea, questioning whether such a hiring would be premature and suggesting the problems facing Lanesboro businesses be defined first. Cropp answered that the EDA had been working on this project for a year and that while Lanesboro waits to "get our ducks in a row" other cities are actively pursuing economic development. Joe O"Connor spoke from the audience in favor of the position saying "Everybody talks about it, but no one has time to dedicate to it." Mayor John Brose added, "If we don’t do this now, will the school stay involved?" On a roll call vote, Brose, Cropp, and Drake voted yes and Hanson and Halvorson voted no on the motion to fulfill the request.Noting the need for funding of the EDA position and the Walking Bridge, the council decided to put the clinic building up for sale with a sealed bid process. The council reserved the right to refuse all bids with a cash sale to the highest bidder.Other business•Colleen Mortimer addressed the council about the February 8th Winterfest. Plans include customized snowmen outside business places, a candlelight stroll downtown, a sweetheart ski on the Root River Trail, a "passion" bonfire, ice skating and sledding. The council wholeheartedly backed the plans with the exception of closing a street for sledding. The council also:•Heard that police chief hopeful Stotts still had a physical and a post board license test to complete;•Discussed the budget and possible cuts, but took no action because the Truth in Taxation Meeting had just been held that evening. Kevin Drake volunteered to speak with department heads for their suggestions on possible cuts;•Considered safety issues regarding Church Hill Alley and discussed the possibility of closing it to traffic for the winter (The church council will be contacted for a joint discussion at the next city council meeting).• Examined a workplace violence policy; and• Closed the meeting for personnel issues.

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