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Lanesboro City Council Report: Environmental issues spotlighted

Fri, Aug 10th, 2007
Posted in Government

Ironically, the strong essence of gym floor sealer pervaded and polluted the council chamber's air supply as the Lanesboro City council spent much of its Monday, August 6 meeting dealing with other possible pollution issues.

First Robert Thompson addressed the council representing the park committee concerning the drainage problems in Sylvan Park. Thompson proposed installing a drainage line from the storm sewer on the east end through the lagoon and across the pond to the west end of the lagoon. The drained water would be filtered through peat rock and dirt. He advocated hiring Art Brookings of Chatfield, a contractor with extensive experience installing such drain tile. With this option, there would be no need for a manhole or pump in the area. The current rain garden and this tiling could be used together to deal with the drain water, slowing it and cleaning it before allowing it to continue on.

Thompson had already approached Superintendent Jeff Boggs at Lanesboro School, asking for the school to share the cost; he asked the city to also help with the expense ($1,500 each). The remainder of the expense, estimated at between $4,700 and $4,800 total, would come out of the Park Board budget.

Culvert erosion

Staying with water erosion concerns, Andy Drake, PWD together with Donna Rasmussen of the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and MPCA's Lee Ganske appeared before the council to suggest a settlement basin/rain garden be constructed to deal with the culvert area behind Helen Flattum's home. According to Drake, a "pretty good deep ditch" had been created near the dam. Since the storm line goes into the river, MPCA was there to represent water quality interests. Ganske reminded the council the Root River has "impaired segments with high turbidity levels." Changes may need to be made all the way from the road to the river. Ganske opined it would be easier to retrofit this particular old system than most because open space (owned by the school with easements for the city) was available there. Upstream, individual water gardens could also help with the problem.

Rasmussen explained the project would require some engineering with a consultant doing a preliminary survey on the size of the project area and the amount of water coming through it. She suggested grant funds might be available from the Clean Water Legacy Act, and informed the council SWCD would be willing to assist in grant writing.

The council directed city administrator Bobbie Torgerson to seek quotes for an engineering survey for the project.

Visual pollution

Developer Dan Anderson was looking to ensure a continued view of the dam and waterfalls as he offered to give the city the land below his Church Hill property, including the bunny trail while reserving the right to trim trees "reasonably" on the donated property in order to preserve the unobstructed view of the dam from the Church Hill Cooperative homes. According to Mayor Steve Rahn, only a few box elder trees would need to be trimmed. Anderson hadn't realized originally that he owned as much land south of the alley as he did north of the alley.

City attorney Tom Manion felt it would benefit the city to own the bunny trail area; in the future, the city may want to improve the historic bunny trail, used by many city residents. Tom Dybing suggested the city could vacate the current platted alley, which is actually under the addition on the old school and redescribe the actual alley as it is used now. The Cooperative would then own the land north of the alley; the city would own the land to the south. Anderson will check on the ownership of the land below the Bethlehem Church and seek a similar tree trimming agreement with those owners as well.

PAL trees and recycling

Still keeping with the environmental theme of the night, John Brose reported to the council on his PAL committee's work; they intend to plant larger trees near the Bass Pond with the city directing the locations. The committee also asked permission to purchase and install recycling containers in the downtown area with the city possibly taking on the task of emptying the bins. Brose will contact Waste Management for help in the recycling project.

Other business

In other business the council:

• approved Chad Ascheman's request for driveway access; Ascheman will provide a turn around so vehicles will not back out into the street;

• heard the Public Utilities is considering automatic controls for the hydroelectric generation that would enable the city to save $20,000 per year on power; they are also looking at sharing wind power with Eagle Bluff;

• set September 18 for a public hearing on the Lanesboro 2020 plan-copies of the plan are at city hall and on the city website for citizens to read;

• tabled the decision on the use of the funds from the Prairie Home Companion Show until Torgerson gets quotes on a stainless steel refrigerator and tables and chairs for the community center;

• set September 6, as the deadline for complying with cleanup requested by the junk letters; after that date the city will clean up the offending junk and assess the property owners.

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