At the October 2 Lanesboro City Council meeting, the council reviewed letters of interest received for former council member Mitchell Walbridge’s seat. Walbridge recently accepted the position of city administrator, vacating his seat on the council. As there are less than two years left of his term, the council was able to appoint someone to fill that seat. Three letters of interest were received. “I think they’re all great,” council member Joe Goetzke commented to which the rest of the council agreed. A motion to appoint Kathryn Wade to the open seat was approved.
Little Norway resident Jim Sheeley thanked the council for replacing the Little Norway bridge. “I just want to let you know we really appreciate that,” he said.
The consent agenda was approved and included the accounts payable, the 2024 liquor license renewals, the DNR trail lease, and a liability waiver.
City Engineer Brian Malm from Bolten & Menk presented pay request #11 to the council for the street and utility improvements project. “There hasn’t been much progress in the last few weeks which is frustrating for everybody involved,” he
commented. The contractor is hoping to be finished with another project soon which will free their staff up to work in Lanesboro again. The punch list has mostly minor items on it, and the final completion date isn’t until next year. Any dead areas of sod will be addressed in the spring. The pay request was in the amount of $12,766.70. The total contract amount is $4.2 million with $3.9 million of work being completed so far. Around $198,000 of the amount is being withheld for retainage. Malm also reviewed pay request #31for the wastewater treatment facility in the amount of $17,140.02. The contractor is working to complete the punch list items. The council approved both pay requests. Malm or another representative from Bolten & Menk will attend the next public utilities meeting on October 16 to answer questions about the new wastewater treatment plant.
David Haugen reported that the annual street evaluations have been completed. Council member Mindy Albrecht-Benson asked if the assessments include alleys. Haugen said that while they are not officially included, he does make a note of the alleys and their condition. “We try to take priority with the street and when we have time, we do the alleys,” he said. Numerous dead or diseased trees around Lanesboro are being removed. The winter equipment is being inspected for the upcoming season, and leaves will be swept up and taken to the compost through the next month.
The Park Department has been working on various projects around Sylvan Park such as laying down new bark at the playground and painting the bathhouse and pavilion. A new metal roof was installed on the park shelter. Haugen is working on a grant to redo the pond as it is eroding. Bats are getting into the museum so bat houses were put up to help with the issue until the openings can be tarred shut.
Melissa Vander Plas shared an update for the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’re busy and we’re having fun,” she commented. The visitor counts have been slightly lower lately, but that is due to a camera issue that prevented a complete collection of the numbers. The chamber is currently working on its membership drive. It was awarded a Small Town Grant from SMIF to be used for rebranding. Once a marketing firm has been selected for that project, public meetings will be held to get input from chamber stakeholders and community members. Vander Plas noted that Lanesboro has received several special accolades and recognitions lately including being named one of the “8 Most Unique Minnesota Towns” by WorldAtlas, a Top Small Town in Minnesota by The Discoverer, and a destination for fall color tours in Southern Minnesota by the Star Tribune.
The council discussed a proposal to join the Minnesota Association of Small Cities which is a lobbying organization. The yearly membership cost for Lanesboro would be in the $425-450 range. “The more voices we have for us, the better off we are,” Mayor Resseman commented.
Goetzke agreed. “It seems like a relatively small amount of money to be involved in this,” he said. The membership was approved for a year with plans to evaluate its benefits before renewing again.
The city clerk sharing agreement with the City of Whalan was terminated as they have hired their own clerk.
An offer of the donation of a bench in memory of Fred Kiel was reviewed by the council. The donor requested that the bench be placed at the dam, but it was noted that the DNR boundaries could complicate that. Albrecht-Benson asked where exactly those boundaries lie, noting that it would be helpful to know for sure in the future. Mayor Resseman agreed and asked Walbridge to speak to a representative from the DNR to get a map. The council approved a motion to push the decision for the donation to the Park Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The next Lanesboro City Council meeting will be held on November 6 at 6 p.m. Due to the Lanesboro school holiday concert, the December 4 meeting will begin at 5 p.m. with the annual Truth in Taxation meeting to be held at 6 p.m.