3/15/2013 12:42:00 PM Farmers Market to move to Park and Ride lot
by Ken Haggerty
The Cannon Falls City Council unanimously decided to prohibit sales of farm goods in the city parking lot along the north side of Hwy. 19, behind Cannon Realty and Scofield's at its March 5 meeting
The City will make its Park and Ride lot on the south side of Hwy. 19, across from John Burch Park, available to the Saturday Farmers Market, with the recently added overflow parking lot, just to the west of that lot, available for patron parking. Sweet corn and other farm sales will be allowed in the overflow lot during the week.
City Administrator Aaron Reeves said the Saturday market creates congestion issues and limits available parking for downtown businesses. Reeves also said the Farmers Market makes it tough for bicyclists looking to access the Cannon Valley Trail at the newly remodeled Trailhead location to park in the city lot.
Reeves said with the new overflow lot providing additional space, it makes sense to move the Farmers Market.
MnDOT offers City $260,000
MnDOT offered the City $260,000 to purchase 71,782 square feet the City owns on the west side of Hwy. 52, south of the old Write On site.
The Council voted to counter-offer $270,000. MnDOT is acquiring the parcel for right-of-way for its new overpass, ramps and connecting roads planned for that area.
The City acquired the property from Write On when utilities were extended to the area in the early 2000s.
Mediacom owes $66,596
While looking at some tower ownership issues on City property, Reeves came across a lease the City approved with Mediacom in 2003 that runs through 2018 for a tower they have on City property.
It was found that Mediacom has never paid the annual lease amount. After some discussion with Mediacom, a settlement was reached and they will pay the City back lease with interest totaling $66,596.53.
Moving forward, Reeves said the City will now track this lease to ensure Mediacom makes the required annual payments for the rest of the agreement term.
City to push for 2nd overpass
Reeves said that with the initial Hwy. 52 construction bids coming in $5 million or more below MnDOT estimates, the City will push to have the second overpass put back into the project, as originally planned and sold to the City and area business owners.
Reeves said the City only agreed to dropping the second overpass (at the site of the northern stoplights) because MnDOT said they estimated the full project at $30 million and MnDOT said they only had enough money budgeted to do the partial project.
Council member Bill Duncan, who was involved in the full negotiations, said MnDOT is "not just backpedaling, but running away" from its original comments on the need for two overpasses.
Reeves noted MnDOT has already bought one of the right-of-way parcels for the northern overpass, so for them to say they had no intention of building both is disingenuous.
Reeves said they will seek support from State legislators to keep the full amount of money budgeted for this project.
New State Senator Matt Schmit said "I'm pleased to see bids for the interchange come in under budget. I've joined the City and County in urging MnDOT to consider options for revisiting the original scope of the project: an interchange and overpass. Rep. Tim Kelly and I are working on legislation to this end and look forward to constructive dialogue with MnDOT on this issue. The Highway 52 corridor has potential for high growth and we should plan accordingly; let's be sure we get this right."
More Library sidewalk
The City will add about $5,000 to the Library project with a change order to make the sidewalk along Mill Street flush to the building. Space had been left for landscaping, but it appears that will not be functional.
New job definition
Under the consent agenda, the Council approved a redefinition and retitling of Community Development Director Dave Maroney's job to Director of Economic Development and Planning. Reeves said Maroney has taken over much of the planning work that in the past was contracted out and does economic development marketing that was never really done in the past. Reeves said the new job definition comes with about a $6,000 salary boost. Maroney was at a salary of $71,011 last year.
The Council agreed, via consent agenda, to providing Northfield WiFi antennae space on the City tower in exchange for five free wi-fi spots that can be used, possibly at the pool, the parks and the City parking lot.
The City has a similar agreement for spots rented on the water tower that have resulted in significant internet connection savings.
Busboys will have to connect
The Council approved an agreement that requires the vacant Busboys building on the west side Hwy. 52 frontage (next to Banks Outdoors/Strike Tool) to hook up to city sewer and water if the building becomes occupied or the parcel is sold for development.
Hwy. 19 crosswalk petition
Council member LeRoy McCusker presented a petition from area residents interested in getting a new crosswalk for Hwy. 19 somewhere between EconoFoods and Twin Rivers Senior Campus.
Eight cars towed
Police Chief Jeff McCormick reported eight vehicles were towed after a recent snowstorm to allow the streets to be cleared.