The Park Rapids City Council heard concerns from a citizen at its meeting on Tuesday.
Shelley Russell, who lives on Minnesota Street behind Coborn’s Grocery, said that she has been struggling for some time to obtain a solution for garbage blowing into her yard from the store’s property.
Russell said Coborn’s corporate told her it was a matter for the local store to handle; store management told her they could not build a fence as she suggested to prevent refuse from blowing off their lot; a previous city administrator passed her along to Police Chief Jeff Appel, who in turn delegated the matter to a police officer who said that nothing could be done.
Meantime, Russell said, she was charged with disorderly conduct after inadvertently spilling a bag of garbage that she collected and brought into the store.
Russell questioned why the public nuisance ordinance wouldn’t apply to the issue. She also recalled that when Red Owl was developing the property, they didn’t fulfill a condition to build a fence at the perimeter of the property.
Russell asked why the store is not charged with littering. Council member Erika Randall suggested that it would be difficult to prove that the store was guilty of littering when most likely, it is a result of items store customers leave in their carts.
Randall advised that civil action may be Russell’s only option in this case.
Russell also complained that the city’s public works personnel cut down a row of mature chokecherry trees in her backyard, from which she liked to harvest berries to make into jam.
She described a dispute over the location of her property line, noting that wherever you draw the line, at least some of the trees were on her property. She added that public works staff left a mess that they still haven’t cleaned up.
Russell said Public Works Superintendent Scott Burlingame told her he would buy some chokecherry bushes for her to plant on her property, but Russell said she wanted mature trees.
Mayor Ryan Leckner agreed to refer the matter to staff.