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Lanesboro City Council Report: Walking trail proposed

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2007
Posted in Government

Jeff Redalen and Julia Borgen, representing the Bluffside Trail group, approached the Lanesboro City Council with plans for a hiking and walking trail for the north side of the river in Lanesboro at the council meeting June 18. The trail would run from the Coffee Street Bridge to the Hwy. 250 Bridge. Spokesman Redalen reported to the council that Craig Bloomer of the DNR had commented, "It would add a lot of character to the system." Bloomer stated the project would "most likely" qualify for matching DNR funds. Steve Klotz of the DNR fisheries division also was supportive, interested in possible stream improvement and access projects that could tie into the trail project.

Orville and Marie Amdahl, "institutions in this town for a long time" (according to Redalen), are willing to work with the city to provide an easement for the trail. Orville's concern was that he not be liable for the rocks falling in the area in the springtime. The city will check on liability issues.

At one time when a snowmobile trail was considered for the same location, the planners were considering pushing boulders into the river. Streams cannot be altered in such a way; however, the DNR could use the boulders in their stream improvement project.

The proposed trail would follow a natural pathway along the river with part of it on city land near the brush dump. Plans are for a 6 to 8 foot wide graveled path; this would be for pedestrian use only-not bikes. According to local historian Don Ward, much of the stone used in local buildings was quarried along the trail.

Council member Joe O'Connor asked if there had been any opposition from citizens. Redalen responded they hadn't heard any, but agreed that people living on the flat area near the trail may not like hikers having a view of their backyards, while pointing out that currently canoers have the same view. Redalen stated the planned trail would not "encroach on anybody by any means" and informed the council T.J. Lynch actually owned the open area behind many of the houses. Kitty Baker, a member of the trail group, commented the trail might actually improve land values.

O'Connor reported he'd received a call from a concerned citizen and wanted to provide an appropriate forum for citizen input. The council decided to include the trail in a public hearing on junk letters and sidewalk replacement to be held July 2. A map of the proposed trail will be prepared before the next TMI meeting to be held June 25. The expected cost for the trail development would be between $2,000 and $5,000; the group intends to raise the needed funds and was asking for the city's blessing, not funding.

Librarian resignation

The Council received a lengthy resignation letter from public librarian Drue Fergison. Fergison is leaving the library to accept a position with the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages. Proud of the progress of the library during her six years there, Fergison listed the accomplishments of the library in terms of fundraising, budgeting, material acquirements, and development of policy and procedure manuals and job descriptions. She closed saying, "Thank you to all of you for your confidence and faith in me, for you wisdom, guidance, support, and all that you have taught me, and for the opportunity and honor of serving this magical and miraculous little town of Lanesboro!"

The council accepted the letter and moved to seek a replacement. City attorney Tom Manion will check on whether the council can participate in the process of hiring the new library director or if that duty belongs solely to the library board. A recognition of Fergison's service to the city is planned.

Other business

In other business the council:

• approved the Victorian House's request to add another room; it will now have three rooms;

• agreed to place the city's panel from the Commonweal art wall in the White Front Café with the rest of the panels at the request of Eric Bunge;

• closed the alley in back of the Commonweal from 11:30 to 5:30 on July 7 with the provision of alternate parking for Lori Semmen during the time;

• learned city administrator Bobbie Torgerson and PWD Andy Drake had toured the city for junk and will send out junk letters to 71 properties with public hearing on July 2;

• tabled discussion of Rick Darling's request to be able to sell on the sidewalk on event weekends. City ordinance currently prohibits such sale except with a permit. The Chamber of Commerce will be contacted about revisiting the issue as well.

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