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Preston City Council Report: Finishing touches on Hwy 52 construction

Fri, May 11th, 2007
Posted in Government

Holly Zuck, secretary of the PACCA, explained to council members at their May 7 meeting her quest for a sign to direct Hwy 52 travelers to the Preston business district. She had detailed her findings in a "letter to the editor" in the April 30, Fillmore County Journal. Mayor Kurt Reicks was absent.

Zuck had contacted MnDot and was advised that the sign could not return where it was because of the new highway design. The sign can not be placed at the Hwy 52 and County Road 17 intersection because of lack of room with other signs already in place. She noted that it may be possible to have the sign placed in the block before the Preston Service Plus.

Zuck said that the city would be responsible for the cost of the sign and that the city council would need to draft a letter to MnDot requesting the sign. There is no sign directing motorists coming from the north on Hwy 52 to the business district. Members voted unanimously to have City Administrator Joe Hoffman draft a letter to request the placement of a sign which would be paid for by the city.

In a related issue the parking on Washington Street near Hwy 52 was discussed. Hoffman explained that the intersection was realigned during the Hwy 52 project. He said that they have received a number of complaints about parked vehicles making it difficult to get through and their effect on visibility. Chuck Aug stated that when the state closed Farmers Street that it changed the traffic patterns. Aug asked that he be informed and kept in the loop in the discussions concerning parking on Washington Street. Another citizen complained that the primary problem is the congestion caused by vehicles parked on both sides of the street. The council members asked Hoffman to work with the city engineer and Public Works Director Bill Cox to come up with a plan and bring it back to the council to improve the situation.

Elevator Plaque

Richard Petsch, Preston Historical Society, announced that the elevator has been awarded National Registry status as a historical site. There will be a formal dedication and an unveiling of the plaque on Friday, May 19, at 5:00 p.m. He invited council members to attend and indicated that there would be refreshments.

Trout Days

Kerry Soiney requested and received permission from the council to use a portion of the trail for a bicycle race during Trout Days. He said that it will be about a one mile course with competitions for different ages and for boys and girls. It would take place on Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and would be open to all ages. The council and Soiney were concerned about safety. The trail will be cleared of debris and barriers or cones will be placed on corner areas.

Forestville Trail

Robert Sauer updated the rest of the council on the Forestville Trail. Sauer had agreed to work with Dale Willie to try and work out something that would be agreeable to the Snyder's and the Ristau's, the two landowners that have not agreed to sell some of their property for trail access. Sauer said that he and Willie went over all the routes under consideration in March. He and John Snyder walked over a lot of Snyder's property in April and Snyder showed Sauer his preferred route or at least one Snyder could 'live with.' Sauer noted that Vernon Ristau has had health problems and that they are waiting for him to recover to discuss that property.

Sauer made it clear that his role is to get in touch with people and act as a liaison and that he speaks for himself only and not the whole council. Kay Ristau complimented Sauer on doing "a good job." She was pleased with his efforts to keep them informed and his patience in dealing with them.

Other Business

• The council approved a resolution accepting plans and specifications for the 2007 street improvements. The project bid date will close the end of May. Construction should start June 14 and be completed three months later.

• A Public Hearing will be held on June 4 over proposed 2007 sidewalk improvements. Sidewalks needing work were referred by the sidewalk inspector or requested by the property owner. Council member Heath Mensink encouraged Bill Cox to try grinding down sections of concrete that were otherwise in good shape, but slightly heaved up on one end to level them.

• The 2006 audit for the city was approved. Hoffman noted that no calls or e-mails were received concerning the audit.

• The possibility of a Cable Access Channel was updated. Mark Vander Plas suggested that it could be used to play tapes and DVDs and to record community events. Hoffman said that it would cost about $1500 to set it up and an additional $1500 for equipment including a video camera and tripod. He added that a group of local people would be needed for the project. Mensink suggested that the school may be able to help. Vander Plas volunteered his time and noted that in Chatfield everything that plays on their access channel plays on their website. Hoffman agreed to work with Vander Plas to get a committee together.

• The council approved the purchase of a garden shed from Preston Lumber for about $1900. The shed will be placed behind the fire hall and used to store the golf cart used for watering the flower baskets. Half the cost of the shed will be borne by the city and the other half by the flower group. Hoffman suggested the shed would also be used to store other small items now stored in the fire hall.

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