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Preston looking at masonry fixes

Mon, May 28th, 2012
Posted in Preston All

The Preston City Council at their May 21 meeting discussed options to repair the retaining wall in front of city hall and the pedestrian ramp in the 100 West block of Fillmore Street.

City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained there have been complaints about the brick facing falling off of the pedestrian ramp. The ramp was put in during 1996. A mason from Wykoff looked at it and suggested replacing the brick with a smaller brick which could be set back, so water would less likely get behind it.

Jennifer Ronnenberg, SWCD, had several suggestions including flow through planters, which will intercept a lot of the run off. The brick will be removed before the next meeting of the council. When they can see what it looks like underneath the brick, the council will decide on how to fix the ramp.

The retaining wall in front of city hall is leaning and crumbling. Hoffman said Mensink Landscaping provided a quote to rebuild the wall with higher quality block. The quote in the amount of $2,808.25 was accepted to rebuild the wall. The sidewalk also needs replacing. Council members wanted to repair the sidewalk as well. Mensink had suggested the use of pavers. The council will make a decision on how to proceed with the sidewalk next meeting, whether to use concrete or pavers.

Other Business In Brief

•Trish Keating detailed plans for Preston’s Family Fun Night. The fun night will be on the first Thursday of each month from June through September. Businesses have been encouraged to remain open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on those nights. There will be free entertainment provided by local talent and fun activities for the kids. Keating hopes to grow the local business customer base by making Preston a convenient and fun place to shop.

•A resolution was approved making the city of Preston the legal sponsor for the Bluff Country Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority to seek Small Cities Grant funds to assist with the updating of the Vesterheim apartment complex in Preston. The HRA will purchase the building. There will be no cost to the city, as it will only administer the funds.

Vonda Budde said the building is in good condition and the grant money will help with updating. With the non-profit taking over the apartment building, more affordable apartments can be made available. People will have to income qualify for subsidized units.

Mayor Kurt Reicks asked about property taxes. Budde said property taxes will still be paid on the building. The building will be Bluff Country HRA property and be regulated by rural development.

•Tim Penny, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, said he appreciated the support the foundation has received from local governments. The foundation has a $4.5 million budget and serves a twenty county region. Fifteen dollars worth of resources are brought into the region for every one dollar raised from local donors.

•Forty percent of the budget goes toward early childhood development. The other priority area is the entrepreneurial area. Both are important to the economic health of a community. The foundation also acts as a 501c3 for a number of communities that want a community fund.

•Lists of election judges for the August 14 primary and the November 6 general election were approved.

•Public Works Director Jim Bakken discussed the algae and duckweed problem on the lower retention pond. He said the MPCA didn’t have an objection to treat the algae with chemicals. Trout are sensitive to copper. A chemical that is only nine percent copper is considered safe. Each treatment will take one gallon and it costs $43 per gallon. Bakken estimated $300 per year would pay for the treatment. The algae treatment was approved.

•A mailer will be sent out to about 150 homes above the pond to educate them about over fertilization, especially with phosphorus and the resulting run-off effect on the pond. Pet waste also adds to the problem. The mailers will explain about duckweed and the fact that it may not look attractive, but it does not give off an odor like the algae. Information will also be included in utility bills to provide information on duckweed and algae.

•Hoffman is going to have a conversation with MnDot to look at some long term options and the possibility of turning the lower pond into a dry pond.

•Volunteers are needed to help with watering the hanging flower baskets. Summer (staff) helpers will water the flowers during the five day work week. Volunteers are needed to sign up for weekends throughout the summer. It takes about a half hour each day to water the flowers.

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