On May 24, 2021, the Caledonia City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting from 6-7:31 p.m. in the city auditorium. Council members present were Mayor DeWayne “Tank” Schroeder, Amanda Ninneman, David Fitzpatrick, Brad Rykhus, and Robert “Bob” Klug.
Mayor Schroeder led the council members and the public in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The council approved the consent agenda and the minutes from the May 10, regular city council meeting, with updates to the spelling of names and added names of attendees present. The council also approved payment for Application No. 5 from Ricchio, Inc. of $105,233.40 for work performed on the Caledonia Pool Gutter Replacement Project; application from American Legion Post 191 for a one-day temporary on-sale liquor license to sell liquor at Veteran’s Memorial Park baseball field on July 2; land use permit application from Lee and Elsie Babler to remove a lean-to, install patio and concrete driveway, and add portable stage at 214 E. Main Street; and the purchase of a Rhino Multi-Pro XA post driver for $2,670.
An estimated 40 residents attended the city council meeting to show their support of Sprague Woods. Several residents shared their opinions with the council. All the speakers support keeping Sprague Woods as it is and not rezoning it as commercial property. In addition, they wanted the council to amend the deed to reflect the wishes of the Sprague family that the eight acres remain a natural resource.
One of the speakers emphasized the importance of residents stepping up and using the property, so the council sees that it is valuable as a walking area. There were many comments regarding available land within the city limits for commercial development and the challenge in annexing property.
The mayor stated, “Caledonia is land locked and cannot expand the industrial park.” The mayor continued, “I do not feel we should change the deed as we do not want to tie future council members’ hands indefinitely. Therefore, I cannot see signing it over.”
Councilmember Ninneman read the original minutes when the city council accepted the land donation from the Sprague family, stating that the eight acres remain in their natural state. Ninneman said, “One or two businesses will not solve our commercial development situation.”
Councilmember Klug stated that he had a business along the highway for many years. He believes highway frontage is especially important to businesses and that Sprague Woods has sewer and water right there. Therefore, it is a significant advantage to be on city water.
Ninneman made a motion to amend the deed and keep the property as Sprague Woods. Klug, Fitzpatrick, and the mayor voted no, and Ninneman and Rykhus voted yes. The motion did not pass.
The mayor encouraged the residents to get in touch with Randy Mell, forestry consultant, and the city will get something done.
Well House No. 8
Ray Theiler, P.E., WSB & Associates, Inc. presented an overview of the final plans and specifications for Well House No. 8. The well house will be constructed adjacent to the existing city park.
WSB & Associates proposed funding the well house through the Minnesota Drinking Water Revolving Fund at the cost of $990,050. If the council adopts the resolution tonight, advertising for bids will appear in the June 2 and June 9 issues of the Caledonia Argus. Offers will be open on Wednesday, June 23, and the city will award the contract on Monday, June 28. Construction will start this summer and be complete in the spring of 2022. Number 8 will be the only well house in Caledonia constructed with a backup generator fueled by natural gas. The generator will have its own room in the well house and will work during a power outage. The 45’ x 40’ building will have two chemical rooms and a future chemical room in the back, to plan for the future. The council approved.
Stephanie Mann, finance officer, reviewed last month’s financial documents (cash and investments, long-term debt, 2021 budget v. actual for general fund, special revenue funds, and enterprise funds). Mann concluded by stating that it was “a normal month of operating expenses.” At the June 14 city council meeting, Andrew Forliti of Smith, Schafer & Associates will present the city’s 2020 audit and provide a financial summary for 2020.
City clerk/administrator report
Adam Swann, clerk/administrator, updated the council that Caledonia Township is scheduled to vote this week on the intergovernmental agreement with the City of Caledonia to fix Green Acres Drive, regarding the repairs on the Green Acres access road, which being reviewed by the township. Swann assured the council that as soon as the agreement is signed, the city will get the ball rolling. The city has contracted with Griffin Construction and is ready to move forward with the repairs.
The gutter replacement project is on schedule to open on July 12. The city received an updated schedule. Swann emphasized, “As soon as the pool is completed, we will get it open ASAP.”
Ruth and Tom Esch contacted Swann to thank electric line foreman Matt Blocker and electric line worker Nate Becker for their outstanding service to the city.
The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) awarded the city’s Streetscapes/Caledonia Green Committee a Paint the Town grant to purchase 13 gallons of paint for the pocket park mural.
City Clerk/Administrator Assistant Carson Coffield submitted a grant to the Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) for items for the pocket park. The city’s request for a bench had been deemed eligible for an amount of $997.15.
Swann requested and the council approved a $250 donation from the Liquor Fund to the Police Reserves for National Night Out.
Business route designation
The council approved the EDA’s recommendation to ask the Minnesota Department of Transportation to designate sections of N. Kingston St. and Old Highway Dr. as a business route. Council members felt that this is a good idea to get people into town.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 14, 2021, at 6 p.m. in the Caledonia City Auditorium.