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Main Avenue assessments approved by council as recommended by task force

Property owners on Main Avenue will pay 100 percent of the assessments on water mains, water service and sanitary sewer improvements to replace aging infrastructure in 2010.

The Park Rapids City Council approved recommendations made by a task force concerning special assessments.

Homeowners and merchants will foot half the bill for sidewalks and 60 percent of the street costs, the committee recommended. The city will pay $944,000 for streetscapes.

Ted Godfrey, a former city council member, attended last week's meeting to reiterate his concerns about the Masonic Lodge that he is a member of being able to afford assessments on the property. The Masonic Lodge derives income "from dues and flipping pancakes," Godfrey said.

"The economy has gotten down to flipping pancakes," he said. He recalled a family who came to one of the pancake feeds and didn't have enough money to pay for all six kids.

The council sympathized with Godfrey but decided to approve the assessments as recommended. Councilman Paul Utke abstained from voting because he owns property on Main.

Councilman Pat Mikesh, who headed up the task force, said he agreed with the recommendations, especially the city paying for 100 percent of streetscapes.

"That puts it in our corner," he said. "It's our pocketbook."

In other business, the council:

-Approved a resolution approving a waiver of the escrow deposit for an application for a development and TIF agreement and designation of a TIF district. The resolution allows Alan Zemek, who is looking into developing the old armory, to pay the escrow funds in increments rather than all at once. It is not technically a waiver, said city administrator Bill Smith.

-Approved hiring Empire Pipe Services to clean and televise the existing sanitary sewer mains under Main Avenue. The work totals $6,295. It is to prepare for the Main Avenue reconstruction project.

-Approved the adoption of the Safety and Health Program for the city of Park Rapids.