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Garrison Keillor will broadcast from Lanesboro


Fri, Mar 23rd, 2007
Posted in Government

LANESBORO - Thanks to Rhubarb Festival Coordinator Nancy Martinson's hard work, Garrison Keillor will broadcast his show, "Prairie Home Companion," from Lanesboro the first weekend in June. Julie Kiehne and David Harrenstein appeared before the Lanesboro City Council at their regular meeting March 19th with several requests related to the upcoming event. Harrenstein informed the council that staff from Prairie Home Companion had visited Lanesboro about a month ago, looked at the softball field, and loved the location. A picnic format is planned for the Friday evening eight p.m. show; the expected 2,000 attendees will sit on lawn chairs and blankets. The entire cast and band will come to Lanesboro, bringing with them all their equipment. The show will be live on tape, meaning the show will be recorded and played back the next night.

'This, once again, will put us on the map," declared Harrenstein.

Kiehne and Harrenstein had several items they needed from the council: permission to use the softball field for the show, the declaration of the event as an official city event (necessary to provide insurance coverage), permission to use gators and other motorized vehicles on the walking bridge to set up and take down the show's equipment, an ambulance on site during the event, and a temporary alcohol permit in case it was decided to offer any alcoholic beverages in addition to the planned food sales. Harrenstein told the council the local effort was organized similar to Opera on the Farm.

Councilman Kevin Drake asked if enough electricity was available at the field. Harrenstein answered that specs had been given to them and an electrician would be hired to take care of the necessary hookup. Mayor Steve Rahn reminded the council there was already city water available at the field.

Kiehne told the council Keillor and his band may possibly do another show on Saturday p.m. as well. "There's more that we don't know, than what we do now," chuckled Harrenstein. The price of tickets has not been set yet; Kiehne encouraged people to check Lanesboro's website, http://lanesboro.com, or the Prairie Home Companion website http://prairiehome.publicradio.org, for further information in the next several weeks. The local economy will be considered in setting the price of tickets for the show intended to be a family affair, and a share of the ticket income will go to cover local costs.

The council granted all requests concerning the event and asked if there was anything else needed. Harrenstein answered that a volunteer is needed to handle parking and coordinate shuttles to transport people. The group may ask to close County Road 8 during the show or at least reroute truck traffic to eliminate noise interference. Councilman Joe O'Connor suggested traffic on 250 might also need to be rerouted, something that would need to be cleared early with the state.

"It's all about rhubarb!" Kiehne quoted the slogan of Nancy Martinson and the Rhubarb Festival Committee, as she assured the council that it was no coincidence that Prairie Home Companion was coming the weekend of the Rhubarb Festival.

EDA comprehensive plan meeting

Carla Noack reported on the recent March 14th EDA comprehensive planning meeting to the council, commenting the meeting had good focus and "impressive suggestions" had come from it. Noack listed the three goals of the plan: focus on Lanesboro's "quality of life" as an arts, recreation, and tourism destination, strengthen existing businesses, and encourage new businesses. Local development and an increase in jobs within Lanesboro were emphasized rather than a focus on commuting to other areas. With no overhead expense for the city, home-based businesses will be encouraged. New stores such as a hardware store, drugstore, or general variety store made the wish list at the meeting, possibly all located together at a single location. Making Lanesboro a "hot spot" for wireless Internet access was seen as a way to entice entrepreneurs to the city. Organization and promotion of events and conventions were encouraged to bring more new people to the city. Lanesboro has a goal to increase the city's population to 950 or 1,000.

Another comprehensive plan meeting will be held in mid-April; this meeting will focus on land use.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• discussed citizen responses concerning downtown snow removal-suggestions included going to alternate side parking in winter months and posting signs for snow emergencies-the council is working on a new snow ordinance;

• heard the first TMI (town meeting initiative) would take place April 23rd and would address Lanesboro's assets (especially the underdeveloped assets) and consider what the grant funds would be used for in the city;

• set the city wide cleanup for April 28th beginning at 8 A.M. (garbage bags will be provided.) Tours of the utility plant, demonstrations of the water wheel, and distribution of free energy efficient light bulbs to citizens will also be part of the day. Fillmore County residents will be able to dispose of old appliances at the Preston site the entire month of April.



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