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Weed growth on DNR lot progagates residents' ire

Trees have been planted, but weeds are growing. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

The Small Cities Development Program is scheduled to be completed by mid-summer of 2012.

Jackie Meixner, with Headwaters Regional Development Commission, said the project is moving along with several renovations underway in the city. The original project award from the Department of Employment and Economic Development was about $600,000 to be used for low interest loans for commercial and residential improvements.

Meixner said the program was scheduled to close Dec. 31, 2012 but she has been able to extend it by six months. The reason to extend the program is because people were having difficulty getting contractors to bid on projects after the storm earlier this summer.

She felt that six months should be sufficient time to finish up projects and close the program.

In other business, the council:

n Heard again from residents about weeds growing in a Department of Natural Resources lot along Highway 34.

Dick Rutherford, who owns the business Toys for Boys that neighbors the DNR property, said he planned to send a letter to the governor inviting him to see what the DNR is doing.

The lot had been filled with trees until a tornado swept through Park Rapids in May of 2011. Early this year the DNR planted tree seedlings in the area and added a sign that reads, "Tornado destroyed forest Memorial Day 2011. Trees replanted 2012. Watch them grow."

Councilman Paul Utke suggested sending a letter to the DNR and treating them like any other resident in the city.

n Heard again from resident Julie Snow regarding letters she received from the city about long grass, diseased trees and a camper in her yard.

The issues have been resolved with city staff but she has heard from other property owners in the city who are upset with how the city handled the situation with alerting citizens about cleaning up their properties.

In Snow's case one of the letters said a camper was seen on her property on a certain date when she was actually at Moondance. Later, city employees admitted they hadn't seen the camper on that date.

The council told city staff to make sure it wasn't operating on hearsay in the future.

n Denied a request from Judy Teiken to waive a fire call fee.

At a previous meeting, Teiken, who has a home on County Road 18, about 3 miles from Park Rapids, said she had an incident May 8 when her alarm went off and she was unable to make it stop. She did not have a fire at her home, she said.

After trying several times to shut off the alarm she called 911 and asked for help in shutting off the alarm. Teiken said she told the dispatcher there was no fire and she only needed help with the alarm.

A sheriff's deputy and electrician were dispatched to her home. Shortly after, three fire trucks arrived.

She also received a $500 fire call bill.

The council decided that while the incident was unfortunate the fee couldn't be waived. It was suggested that she should contact her home insurance to see if it is a covered expense.

n Received a budget proposal for city prosecutions from Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne.

He is proposing a two-year contract for the 2013 and 2014 budget cycles. The proposed rate is $3,518.16 per month in 2013 and $3,588.73 per month in 2014.

The County Attorney's Office prosecutes gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, petty misdemeanors, ordinance violations and forfeiture proceedings for the city.

City staff is in the budgeting process for 2013 and will present a preliminary budget to the council for approval before Sept. 15.

n Provided a certificate of support for the Armory project for a Rural Development Community Facilities loan application.

The certificate of support says, "The proposed project will provide needed service and will have no adverse impact on other facilities providing similar services."

n Approved purchasing a keypad door lock for the airport arrival/departure building. The keypad lock will allow pilots to enter the building during unstaffed hours. Additional security improvements will be added to the 2013 budget.

n Suggested a request from the Fire Department to purchase a new Jaws of Life be worked into the 2013 budget instead of purchasing the item now.

n Approved a quote of $3,775 from KL Concrete to repair and replace several sidewalks along Highway 34.

n Approved a Conditional Use Permit to allow golf carts to be displayed and sold outside a home at 607 Henrietta Ave. S.

n Approved a Conditional Use Permit to allow an art gallery and art school at the former dealership on Highway 71 south near the airport.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561