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Lanesboro gets $10,000 settlement on A Prairie Home Companion


Fri, Jul 20th, 2007
Posted in Government

The city's hosting of A Prairie Home Companion show in June turned a tidy profit over $10,000, due mainly from a claim filed against the rain insurance policy the city took out to safeguard the financial success of the event.

Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Kiehne told the city council at its July 16 meeting that there was a profit of $950 from revenue generated by the event. An additional $10,000 came through the insurance claim.

"The rain we received fit the hour profile of the insurance policy and they honored the claim in full," Kiehne said.

While the event generated a profit, Kiehne told council members that the true value of the weekend was the priceless marketing the town received.

"The program was listened to by four million people," Kiehne said. She believes the economic impact of that will continue to be seen in the future.

Kiehne went on to say that the event's success was due to so many people who volunteered and served on committees.

"How we managed A Prairie Home Companion can be used as a template for future events," Kiehne said. "We received many compliments from the people at A Prairie Home Companion on how hospitable our community was."

Kiehne told the council that the insurance money belongs to the city and they can use it as they see fit. She said that the organizing committee recommended that some of the money could be used to replace the refrigerator and tables in the community center.

Walking Trail

The debate over the proposed Walking Trail on the north edge of the city continued to generate controversy. A number of people who question the purpose of the trail came to the council meeting to voice their displeasure with the fact that some clearing of trees has already taken place on the site.

A small strip of land on private property on the north side of the Root River is being proposed as a Walking Trail. A group, Bluff Side Trail, received a $1200 grant from the People Advancing Lanesboro (PAL) town meeting initiative project through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. The trail site is bordered by city land and by Hwy 250. The trail group is asking for an easement for access to the trail. There are still unanswered questions as to who would manage the trail if it were to proceed.

John Levell criticized the trail group for beginning to clear the land without any decision being made by the council to accept the project.

"The project was presented for public funding and now they have turned it into a private project," he said. Levell also questioned whether permits were needed from the DNR to clear next to shore line.

Mayor Steve Rahn responded that the city had no jurisdiction on private property.

Richard Haddorff, whose B&B is located across the river from the Walking Trail site, asked what the process would be in making a decision.

"We are gathering information at this point," Mayor Rahn said, noting that the city is contacting MnDOT regarding access to the trail from Hwy. 250.

"There won't be a trail with out a city easement," Council member Joe O'Connor said. "It's going to go through a process. I am not going to support an easement until I see the engineering."

Sylvan Park Project

Robert Thompson, representing the Sylvan Park Project, another PAL approved project which received a grant of $4600, asked the council for a resolution stating the city's intent to correct the water drainage problems in the parking lot by the tennis courts.

Council member Tom Dybing expressed his concerns about passing a resolution and tying the city to a project where the costs are unknown.

Thompson said the resolution was non-binding, but would give the group the impetus to proceed with getting construction quotes. He assured the council that they would get final approval on the project before awarding bids. The resolution was passed.

Other business

• The council went into closed session to discuss a personnel medical issue. When the meeting re-opened the council gave City Administrator Bobbie Torgerson the authority to make any necessary decisions for hiring temporary staff to maintain city operations.

• The council approved a liquor license for the Firemen's Dance during Buffalo Bill Days.

• Learned that more than 20 application packets have been sent out regarding the librarian vacancy. The deadline for applications is July 27.

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