Herald JournalHerald Journal, Nov. 10, 2003

New commission to focus on downtown development in Winsted

By Julie Yurek

The City of Winsted created a new commission to promote downtown development at Wednesday's council meeting.

The downtown renewal commission was formed after a group called Hometown Minnesota recently approached the city and offered its help to revitalize the downtown area, said City Administrator Brent Mareck.

Members from a design team would spend three days in the city talking with business owners and creating different options for the downtown area. Their work would be done for free, Mareck said.

The city must submit an application to be considered for the project, he said.

That meeting highlighted a need for the city to create a group dedicated to downtown renewal and preservation.

The commission would act as a recommending body and have no spending authority, Mareck said.

The downtown commission will be the same as the park, planning and airport commissions, he said.

Areas of interest for the commission will include economic growth, design, and promotion of the downtown area.

Mareck knows of many people interested in being on the commission, he said.

Council member Pastor Gerald Boldt recommended that if the number of interested people became too many, they could still attend the commission's meeting.

"The more people involved the better," he said.

"I think this is a great opportunity," said Mayor Don Guggemos.

Administrative fines approved

The Winsted Police Department will now have the option to issue either administrative fines or state tickets to offenders after the council adopted an administrative fine ordinance and resolution.

An administrative fine system is a means to enhance local control and decrease costs associated with prosecution of offenses, Mareck said.

Offenses that will fall under administrative fines are mostly traffic violations. Also included are parking violations, animal violations, public nuisances, and zoning code violations.

Administrative fines are 80 percent of the state fines. They do not go onto the person's driving record, either.

It is up to the police officer which ticket to issue, Mareck said. If individuals fail to pay their fines, they will be charged with a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor.

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