By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN The potential runway paving at the Winsted Municipal Airport would affect the surrounding area in many ways, and an environmental assessment is underway to determine how to best handle each issue.
Melissa Underwood and Ron Roetzel of engineering firm Bolton & Menk shared their findings thus far with the Winsted City Council June 7, summarized as follows:
• Cable Avenue A public open house is set for Thursday, June 23 at 7 p.m. in the Vollmer Room of Winsted City Hall to present options for either closing or relocating Cable Avenue near the runway.
To date, there has been one other open house, and discussion at three Winsted Township board meetings. At these sessions, many residents said they were opposed to closing the road, and would like it to be re-routed around the airport runway protection zone.
Three potential re-route alternatives will be presented at the open house, and the city is asking the township board to select its preferred alternative by mid-July.
• Project funding Funding for the more than $6.6-million project will be split 90 percent federally, and 10 percent locally. The state may pay 5 percent of the local portion. The potential relocation of Cable Avenue is not included in the current estimated costs. Alternatives for this portion range from $472,500 to about $596,000.
• Wildlife During Tuesday’s meeting, the council authorized City Administrator Dan Tienter to enter an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct a short-term wildlife hazard site visit and evaluation for the airport.
• Trail Bolton & Menk has been working with the Department of Natural Resources to acquire property necessary to relocate the Luce Line State Trail to the north, and then close the portion of the trail that turns south.
• Gas line The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires a gas line near the airport to be re-routed outside of the runway safety area. Both the FAA and Northern Natural Gas have approved the proposed re-alignment of the north/south gas line route. The proposed runway has been shifted 100 feet to the west from the original plan, in order to avoid re-routing the east connection gas line.
• Land acquisition Once the environmental assessment is approved, Bolton & Menk plans to begin discussing land acquisition in more detail. The runway project requires relocation of the Winsted Farmers Coop, Roetzel said facilities would be constructed to get the business running again.
“There’s some potential for improving their circumstances,” he noted.
• Next steps Bolton & Menk’s next steps will be to complete the environmental assessment and present the final findings to the city council. At that time, the city can determine if it would like to continue moving forward with runway paving.
Trees and parking
Two residents asked the council to remedy issues they’re having, one regarding a neighbor’s multiple vehicle parking, and the other regarding city tree trimming.
The first request came from John Holland, who said a neighbor has 11 vehicles (including snowmobiles, boats, etc.) parked in the cul-de-sac where he lives, which is an inconvenience. Holland said the neighbor doesn’t own all of them, but is storing them for other people.
Tienter noted that the city doesn’t currently prohibit this type of parking, but the council could choose to amend an existing ordinance to deal with this problem.
The council agreed to forward the issue to the planning commission so it can be examined.
The second resident request came from Ron Mills, who lives in the Northgate Estates development.
He said boulevard trees on his property need trimming, and he has seen other trees around town that need trimming, as well.
Tienter said residents can contact public works any time they have a boulevard tree on their property that needs attention. He added that, if possible, the city prefers that residents are home while trees are being trimmed on their property.
Tienter noted that tree trimming has been a concern of other residents, and the city is considering implementing a tree trimming schedule so that each section of town is covered. Regular trimming could be time-consuming and expensive, however, he noted.
“We only have so much money, and people only want to pay so much in taxes, but this is important, and if we can fund it in a reasonable manner, we will,” Council Member Tom Ollig said.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• closed part of the work session to discuss the possible sale of land located within the city-owned industrial park expansion.
• recognized the new address of 179 1st St. N. for the business located in the upper level of the old city hall building. The address for the business in the lower level will remain 181 1st St. N.
• accepted a $300 donation from the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department Relief Association for the Winsted Holding Activities that Unite People (WHAT UP) organization.
• approved WHAT UP’s request to have farm animals at Mill Reserve Park Saturday, June 18 for a petting zoo during the Buffalo Community Orchestra concert. If any roads need to be closed, the police chief was given the authority to do so.
• authorized a Boy Scout Troop from Mound to camp overnight at Hainlin Park Saturday, June 18.
• approved a payment request of $4,610 to Hydro-Klean, LLC for work on the 2015 sanitary sewer cured-in-place pipe lining project.