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Lanesboro City Council Report: The city readies for Keillor's visit

Fri, May 11th, 2007
Posted in Government

Julie Kiehne, Dave Harrenstein, and Peggy Hanson visited the Lanesboro City Council meeting May 7 with some special requests for the upcoming Garrison Keillor visit in June. Kiehne asked that Highway 8 be closed to all traffic from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on June 1st so highway traffic wouldn't affect the recording of the show. The council agreed to the closure; businesses that could be affected by such a closure had been consulted and had no objection. Ultimately, the final decision on the closure will be Fillmore County's.

Kiehne also requested that the city lights outlining the downtown buildings be lit both Friday and Saturday evenings, June 1 and 2. The council agreed to have city staff reconnect the lights if their schedules permitted it. To further beautify the city Kiehne asked if the flower baskets would again be purchased. The city had not budgeted for the baskets; business owners will be contacted about purchasing the baskets first before the city considers funding the baskets.

Harrenstein asked for city help in putting up snow fence at the softball field. Since the city staff will be busy with mowing and the lights, Council member Joe O'Connor volunteered to get help from the Lions' Club. Harrenstein's request for permission to chalk the field was granted. The request for a temporary liquor license was withdrawn; no liquor will be sold at the event.

Hanson detailed the foods available in the downtown area during the event, describing the traditional "lunch" - sandwiches, bars, beans, and jello - at the Sons of Norway Hall and the Fire Hall, and the meatballs on a stick, uffda dogs (hotdogs rolled in lefse), and ice cream treats available at the concession stand before making her request that Rochelle and Coffee Street near the Fire Hall be closed for extra table space. The council agreed to the closure beginning at noon on Friday with deliveries and emergency vehicles allowed through the blockade.

Light pollution

Terry Neumann of Mrs. B's complimented the council on the new street lights, but then went on to complain about the amount of light radiating into the windows of the inn. According to Neumann, the new lights are four times brighter than the old ones and the light no longer falls downward, but radiates outward. Room darkening shades didn't solve the problem; guests at the inn complain they have trouble sleeping. Neumann asked that the bulb wattage in the fixtures be cut in half and that residential shields be installed in the fixtures.

City Administrator Bobbie Torgerson told the council the city had gone with the fewest lights possible when the lights were replaced. The issue was referred to the Utilities Commission with the recommendation to check into acquiring the shields, which would direct the light away from the buildings.

Planning for the future

Carla Noack presented the preliminary plan, "Lanesboro 20/20, Envisioning Our Future" to the council. The result of two years of work, the plan details a vision of what Lanesboro will be like in the year 2020 in housing, economic development, and land use. Accompanying that vision are goals for each area. The relatively short, eight-page document is intended to be used by the community as it plans and moves forward. Copies of the document will be available for the public's input both online and at city hall. Council member Joe O'Connor urged the council to "tie some budget dollars to these items," as he reminded the council these were what the community said were important.

O'Connor next shared the proposed projects generated in a recent Town Meeting Initiative: a Riverwalk North Bank Loop Trail, "The Road to the 'Boro" (a promotion of Lanesboro), St. Mane Theater Film Festivals, refurbishing of the Community Center kitchen, economic promotion of Lanesboro, and recreational enhancement venture (improvements in Sylvan Park). Dedicated groups are working on these projects; the June 25 TMI meeting will include project presentations. At that time the leadership group will prioritize the projects.

Other business

In other business the council:

• granted Kevin Meyer's request to allow vehicles to park on the city-owned grassy area and alley behind the old lumber yard (he intends to have a flea market in the area during the summer weekends);

• approved the stenciling of "Dump No Waste" on curbs near city storm sewers; this is a joint project of Donna Rasmussen of Fillmore County Soil & Water and Tim Willette, the Lanesboro High School industrial arts instructor (funds for the project will come from a grant);

• postponed approving a lot split request from Mark Welch of GGG pending a signed agreement from both parties involved;

• heard the city sales tax was not included in the current bill before the state legislature-only cities that had already passed a referendum for a local tax were included;

• decided to notify Holt Township with a certified letter that the city is no longer paying for grading the township road since there are now properties along the road generating tax dollars for the township and Lanesboro itself owns no grader;

• discussed dealing with removing refuse from the city right of way near the home at the base of the golf course hill and charging the owner for the work (City Attorney Tom Manion was to take pictures of the situation to present the judge).

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