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Downtown snow removal prompts 'no u-turn' signs

Piles of snow have forced a change in the city's minimalist approach to signs on Main Avenue. Crews need to have access to downtown areas for snow removal. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Downtown Park Rapids will once again have snow removal and no u-turn signage.

The Park Rapids City Council approved having limited signage downtown after a request from city staff. All signage was removed from Main Avenue after construction began last summer.

The council decided last year to have fewer signs downtown after Main Avenue reconstruction was completed but staff decided some were necessary in order to enforce no parking for snow removal.

A vehicle was towed a few weeks ago for snow removal but the woman went to city hall later to request her money back because there was no signage, city administrator Bill Smith said.

Don Dearstyne, the city's prosecutor, recommended that the woman be reimbursed and for the city to consider adding signage again if it wants to enforce these ordinances.

City staff has worked to create a new sign plan to coincide with the downtown construction project.

The snow removal notice sign will be posted at mid-block on both sides of Main Avenue from Highway 34 to Fifth Street. Also, one no u-turn sign will be placed on the fourth block of Main.

Police Chief Terry Eilers said the reason for the no u-turn sign on this block only is to discourage the young adults who congregate on this block from circling and staying in this location.

Signage will be placed on temporary poles until spring when a more permanent solution can be made.

In other business, the council:

n Denied reimbursement of $339.95 for uniforms for police officer Dan May.

Each officer has a uniform allowance for the year. May recently accepted a position with the Hubbard County Sheriff's Department so Mayor Nancy Carroll thought the request was unreasonable.

The council voted unanimously to deny the request for reimbursement.

n Denied giving non-union employees a wage and insurance benefit adjustment for 2011.

In previous years, the city has given non-union employees an increase similar to what the union employees receive.

The council expressed concern with the uncertainty of state funding.

n Gave city planner Dan Walker permission to apply for two grants that would pay for improvements to the parking lot on Beach Road at the start of the Heartland Trail. The city purchased the lot last month.

Walker will be applying for a federal recreational trail grant and state legacy grant.

n Approved advertising for a patrol officer to replace May, who will be a deputy with the county. This is the second officer who has accepted a job with the county after Cory Aukes became sheriff.

n Approved purchasing a patrol car from Park Rapids Ford for $23,620.48. The vehicle is in the city's Capital Improvement Plan.

n Heard in a staff report that public works employees removed a hair clog from a city lift station that weighed about 200 pounds. Public works director Scott Burlingame said crews have been working on sewer cleanup throughout the city.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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