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Paynesville Press - March 15, 2006

Council approves plat, hears report on park at meeting

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, March 8.

*The council heard a report from project manager Lowell Flaten of MnDOT about changes to the plans for the proposed Highway 23 improvements in Paynesville. The changes mainly involved straightening the planned new highway from the airport across the Crow River. (See story on page 1.)

*The council was informed that the 2006 Street Improvement Project should start in early April. The first newsletter for affected residents is being finalized, city engineer Chuck DeWolf of Bolton & Menk told the council last week.

*The council approved a preliminary plat for Ampe Morningside Plat Five. The plat, an outlot in their original plat, is 6.8 acres and will include 18 lots.

*The council also reviewed a concept plan for the proposed Ampe Park, surrounding two city wells and containing approximately 14 acres. The current concept plan by the park board includes a baseball diamond, softball diamond, soccer field, sand volleyball court, walking path, half basketball court, frisbee golf, and horseshoe pits, as well as a playground and tot lot for kids, picnic shelters, and restrooms.

Interim administer and public works director Ron Mergen told the council that they will take the concept plan back to the park board for another review. The city hopes to hold an informational meeting on the proposed park this spring, perhaps in May. In order to dedicate resources towards this new park, the city might close the small South Street Park.

*The council was informed that the DNR does not have funds for a fishing pier at Veteran's Memorial Park this summer. City staff is planning to contact the Paynesville Sportsman's Club to see if they would be willing to participate.

This summer, interim administrator and public works director Ron Mergen told the council, the park committee is planning to decrease the swimming area at the city park and use one of the docks for boaters wishing to stop at the park (to use the bathroom, picnic shelter, etc.). The council agreed that the park is getting more use by boaters and that allowing the dock to be used like this makes sense.

*The council was informed by Mergen of the city's participation in the 2006 Minnesota Releaf Project Grant. The city is planning to purchase 61 trees, which will be available to city residents to plant on their properties. The trees are one inch in diameter (about eight-feet tall). They can be planted anywhere on the lot.

Applications are available at city hall. Trees must be planted by Friday, June 30. Any remaining trees will be planted in city parks.

*The council was informed that the city's application for the 2006 Small Cities Development Grant was not approved. There were 87 applications, and 35 received funding. This is the second year that the city has applied for the grant and the second year that it was denied. The city had identified 24 owner-occupied houses, 13 renter-occupied units, and 27 commercial buildings for rehabilitation.

*The council approved a joint purchase agreement between the city and Paynesville Township in order to buy a new brush chipper. The council tabled this agreement in February in order to add some language under the insurance requirements, i.e. specifying that the city and township need to carry their own liability and worker's compensation insurance. The new chipper cost $23,500, with the city alone getting credit for the trade in of their old chipper, worth $4,000, bringing the city's share of the purchase to $7,725.

*The council approved a variance for AMPI to build a 5' by 7' sewer sampling building at the corner of Railroad Street and Washburne Avenue. The new building does not meet the 25-foot setback requirement to the road, being only one foot from the curb. AMPI also exceeds the maximum lot coverage of 50 percent.

*The council set a variance hearing for Austin and Tammy Nichols (515 Liberty Street) for Wednesday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. The Nichols' house does not meet the current 20-foot setback to the road. Therefore, their 34' by 48' addition will only be 13' from the road.

Because the application was submitted on the day of a meeting, the 60-day timeline for variance requests cannot be met by the city, so the council approved a 30-day extension to the variance request, through the end of April.

*The council tabled a review of the latest concept plan for the North Paynesville Development by Ferche Development, LLC. The council was told that Jason Ferche plans to attend the council meeting on Wednesday, March 22, to discuss the concept plan with the council.

*The council approved allowing Mergen, police chief Kent Kortlever, and city employee Chris Lundgren to attend the League of Minnesota Cities 2006 Safety & Loss Control Workshop in St. Cloud in April. The cost is $20 per person plus mileage.

*The council approved a gambling permit for the St. Louis Knights of Columbus to hold a raffle at the St. Louis Catholic Church on Saturday, March 25.

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