Safety at intersection of James-Washburne
discussed by city council

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 7/05/00.

Safety at the intersection of James Street and Washburne Avenue was discussed by the Paynesville City Council Wednesday night.

The council received a letter of concern from Sheri Wegner, owner of Sheri's Studio, which is located on the southeast corner of the intersection.

In her letter, Wegner requested the intersection be changed to a four-way stop and the corners be painted yellow to clearly indicate no-parking areas. According to Wegner, vehicles parking illegally near the intersection have contributed to some accidents and many near misses. When a large van or SUV is parked at the corner, it is impossible to see on coming traffic until a driver is a car length into the intersection, Wegner added.

Council member Dave Peschong said a four-way stop would defeat the purpose of the stop lights at the intersection of Highway 23, which is only a block away. Mayor Jeff Thompson said the diagonal parking on the west side of Washburne Avenue is a contributing factor to the poor visibility.

Police chief Tony Schmitt thought a major problem is that people stop and look but are not looking carefully enough. He said parked cars need to be kept back from the intersection so motorists can see better.

The issue was referred to the public works committee. The council will wait for a recommendation from that committee before making a decision.

Well project
Ron Mergen, public works director, said the well agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has been signed. The city has received a total of $650,000 to be used toward drilling two new wells. One of the wells will be located on the southeast edge of Paynesville near the present wells. The second well will be located south of Highway 55.

The MPCA requested an observation well be drilled about 75 feet away from the new well south of Highway 55. The observation well will provide water level information on the aquifer when the new well is in use. The cost of the observation well ($4,203) will be covered by the MPCA.

Mergen informed the council that MPCA has been doing test borings to find the best site for both of the new wells.

WilGlo Acres Addition
The council approved the preliminary plat for WilGlo Acres Addition and ordered advertising for bids.

WilGlo Acres Addition is being developed by Willie Scheel. It is located on the west end of Paynesville.

Wayne Stark, an engineer for the city, outlined the plat and expenditures. The streets in the addition will be 36 feet wide with concrete curb and gutters. A new street, North Grand, will connect the addition to Highway 55 to the north.

Plans call for the water and sewer lines to be bored south under the North Fork Crow River to connect to the existing utility lines near Minnesota and Liberty streets. "We feel there will be less problems with the Department of Natural Resources if we bore under the river," Stark said.

Total cost of the project is projected to be about $788,697. Of that total, Scheel will be responsible for $665,268 and the city will cover $123,429.

The council set a public hearing for Wednesday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. to receive input on vacating several platted streets within the addition. Streets to be vacated include undeveloped portions of Mill Street and River Street.

Project 55
A public hearing was held on rezoning land within Project 55, which is a new development located south of Highway 55. The land is owned by the Flanders family and Ron Frauenshuh.

The land along Highway 55 was recently annexed into the city of Paynesville and needed to be zoned. Following the hearing, the council approved zoning the land along Highway 55 as commercial. The rest of the area will be single residential.

Gerald Hunter requested a lot be zoned multiple housing instead of commercial. Hunter is planning to construct a senior assisted care facility.

Eddie Gottwald, owner of Precision Electric which adjoins Project 55, felt that area should be commercial, which the council approved. Gottwald was also concerned about increased traffic flow in the area with a new housing unit. He would like to see the frontage road upgraded and paved and street lights installed in the area.

The council also approved renaming the service road that runs from Tom Thumb to Wimmer Landscaping. It will now be considered part of Spruce Street.

Frontage road
Mergen told the council that the frontage road by the Paynesville Lutheran Church could be attached to the WilGlo project as a change order, a savings of $7,125 for the city.

The city is negotiating with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) on construction of the frontage road. After earlier indicating they would fund $50,000 of the project, MnDOT is now saying they can only contribute to the new road portion, and not for any reconstruction. The east end of the road is already paved and has curb and gutter on the north side.

Stark informed the council that he hoped to have more information by the council's next meeting on Wednesday, July 12.

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