Herald JournalHerald Journal, Nov. 17, 2003

Lester Prairie one-way should be effective in May

By Trent Redfield

One-way traffic on Juniper Street downtown is a step closer to reality with action taken by the Lester Prairie City Council last Monday.

Though the one-way idea was tabled until March, the council set a timeline to make the change take place by May 1.

It was decided that signs for the one way should be ordered by February, with the streets and parking spots painted in late April or early May.

The street, which will be one way for only one block, should be in place by May 1.

City is looking at growth

Much of the meeting discussion centered around the increased growth of the city and the actions that must be taken in conjunction with that.

The council met with Lenny Juncewski, developer of East Park Estates to talk about the cost and time involved in inspections of the new addition to the city.

It was determined that city engineer Doug Parrot would present an estimated budget on critical mission inspections and determine a time-scale for random inspections.

The council wanted to set a precedent for future developments, and the involvement that city would have in the building process.

The council then empowered Mayor Eric Angvall and City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk to negotiate further with Juncewski when Parrot's details are forthcoming.

The city council also changed the zoning of the East Park Estates from agricultural to residential to accommodate the city's growth.

The discussion of the East Park Estates expansion and the recent Prairie Ridge expansion led the council to discuss the needed expansion of the wastewater treatment facility. It was decided that facility plan is to be drawn up and a timeline was discussed.

In order to double the facility's size in 2005, the city must meet a deadline of March 1, 2004.

A wastewater treatment expert will be at the special meeting of the city council Dec. 1 to present further information and help coordinate planning on this project.

The council also discussed the water sewer extension project along McLeod County Road 9.

The city received a bill from the McLeod County Rail Authority for $1,000 to run the sanitary sewer under the rail line.

The rail authority also sent a bill for $500 for the attorney fees involved in drawing up the bill. The city decided not to pay these fees, but to send the contract back amended, to include a future water main crossing. This was the one unpaid claim during the council meeting.

Mayor Eric Angvall suggested that if the rail authority is going to charge this amount for right-of-way then the city should stop maintaining its land for free. Right now the city does not charge for mowing and weed control on their property.

It was suggested that a bill for back maintenance on this land would more than equal the bill for the right-of-way costs.

Becky Felling, representing McLeod County Public Health, approached the council about the possibility of a county no-smoking policy for restaurants. Restaurants are defined as facilities that receive 50 percent or more of its income from food sales.

McLeod County is considering passing this no-smoking policy, along with two other counties, and is seeking input and support from city councils.

Olmsted County, and cities such as Duluth, Moose Lake, Little Falls, have similar non-smoking policies.

One state, California, also has such a policy. Felling presented information in support of the smoking ban in restaurants, focusing on protecting public health and particularly the health of restaurant employees.

She shared statistics on the effect of second-hand smoke on health and presented the issues as a public health issue.

The city council discussed the effect that such a policy would have on Lester Prairie. Mayor Angvall mentioned that only one business in Lester Prairie, Jonio's, would be affected. The council decided it was not its role to tell this business how to conduct itself.

Felling then asked if the county decided to move forward on this issue, if the Lester Prairie City Council would be available for public meetings and hearings.

The council said yes, but would charge the county the regular meeting space usage fee.

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