Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Oct. 8, 2001

HL City pursues more land along highway for bank development

By Lynda Jensen

Two subjects highlighted the Howard Lake City Council meeting Tuesday: another dispute over land value, and the hiring of a new city employee.

The council passed condemnation proceedings against property owned by Allan and Donna Munson on Block 17, which is where Donna's Salon is located between the Howard Lake Ridgeview Clinic and Milo's Restaurant.

Previously, informal negotiations came close - but failed - when the city offered $140,000 for the one-and-a-half lots owned by the Munsons. The Munsons asked for $145,000, refusing to compromise on this figure.

The appraised value, ordered by the Munsons, was about $70,000, City Administrator Doug Borglund said.

The lots are located in the middle of where a potential new bank development is planned.

Allan Munson expressed optimism despite the city's action, saying that there will most likely be a settlement of some kind, he said.

Previously, the city purchased Milo's Restaurant for $125,000, next door to Donna's, which takes up half a lot on Block 17.

Mayor Gerry Smith noted that when the city bought Milo's, it essentially purchased the business, for that price. The city does not plan to purchase Donna's business, Borglund said.

The value of the property will be determined by a committee of two or three appraisers, appointed by a judge Borglund said. The property value is determined by a judge, who accepts a recommendation from the committee, he said.

The last step in the development along those Blocks is the purchase of a lot from Jim and Tom Peterson of Lakes Area Realty. This should not be an issue, Smith said.

The city turned its attention to hiring new city maintenance employee Tim Kosek. Kosek will assume the position of assistant sewer and water operator/building and grounds.

Kosek worked for five years at the City of Winsted and lives there with his family. He replaces Todd Anderson, who worked for the city of Howard Lake for about four years prior, Borglund said.

Kosek has experience in heavy equipment, construction, and some wastewater treatment experience, Smith said. He is also a volunteer firefighter and a licensed first responder.

He was chosen out of five applications. Previously, there were 26 applications the last time that the city hired on.

Resident and Parent-Teacher Association member Curt Levang asked the council to draft a letter to MnDOT asking for an alternative route for truck traffic. Levang gave two reasons for the letter, which would support the PTA's efforts for the same purpose, out of guilt if any accident should happen with trucks, and for liability reasons, he said.

Smith indicated the city asked about this a long time ago, but was turned away. MnDOT made it very clear that it will not tolerate two detours, Councilor Shelly Reddemann said.

The original detour was planned for Ninth, which would have looped the ball field into the picture, Smith said. At least where it is now has a parking lot between the street and students at the school, he said.

"That one was extremely bad," Levang said of the original detour. The current detour is not much better, he said.

There also is an issue of trucks taking improper routes due to confusing signage, the council noted.

Councilor Shelly Reddemann noted that the stop signs slowed traffic considerably along the detour.

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