St. Michael talks downtown landscaping, potential roundabout project | St. Michael
At its April 27 meeting, the St. Michael City Council discussed the current plans for the streetscape of the city center.
The council also received an update from the Beebe Lake Improvement Association proposing road changes for the Foxtail Meadows development.
Wright County Deputy MP Tyler Ellison did not have any critical information from the Sheriff’s Office but did notice the increase in calls regarding youth activities as the weather improved.
DOWNTOWN STREETSCAPE DESIGN
Marc Weigle, director of community development, presented the community council with the latest plans for the one-way street into the city center and suggested that options for attractive landscaping be considered. He explained that bushes and grass would require maintenance and higher costs, but would be aesthetically pleasing to the city.
The council generally supported the consideration of a more sophisticated landscaping and council member Nadine Schoen expressed her personal interest in the project.
“Regardless of how we do it, and regardless of the size of the dollar, I still want to be very involved in it,” she said. “I mean, this is our inner city, we should really get into it.”
Schön said she wanted the city center to be as “pedestrian-friendly” as possible, and the city council agreed that the project could benefit from such an addition.
During this topic, the council also discussed the future plans for the location of the old corner bar, which could possibly be converted into an information kiosk in the city center. However, the district has not announced its plan for the location, so Weigle will provide more information at a future meeting.
BEEBE LAKE ASSOCIATION UPDATE
Eric Larson, President of the Beebe Lake Improvement Association, also briefed the council on the state of the lake. Overall, water conditions are improving, and Larson reviewed a series of test results that show the water quality, clarity, level and fishing data for Beebe Lake.
“We’re making the lakes more magical, useful, and useful for the city of St. Michael and its people,” said Larson. “The city is growing, as you know very, very well, and so is the pressure on the lake as people relax more and more, and that’s a good thing … they enjoy it.”
He added, “Soon you will be able to see and count your toes.”
By educating the neighbors who live on and near the lake about practicing water management, the association found that the water quality had improved. For example, as fertilizers have been used more strategically over time, the phosphorus content has decreased.
“We have fewer problems with the lake and this is being done through many, many efforts,” he said. “The right things are happening, but it’s slow.”
After years of turbulent water levels, the lake has risen steadily since 2018. According to Larson, Ed Haller, public works director, was helpful in making sure lake levels stayed where they should be to protect the surrounding property and thanked him for his efforts.
Similarly, since 2009, fisheries have improved for most fish species, including yellow bass, walleye, crappie, and largemouth bass. The number of pike in the north has remained constant while the number of sunfish has decreased. In general, Larson was grateful for the council’s support and asked that they continue to do so.
At its next meeting on May 11th, the council will review the final platform for the proposed Foxtail Meadows project. Weigle therefore informed them of the latest developments regarding the related changes to 35 County Road.
The original plan was for the developer to build on 35 turning lanes outside of the project, but the county has other plans – for 2023 – according to which these freshly built lanes will have to be torn out in just a few years. The county intends to create four lanes and two separate roundabouts, and has proposed that construction of one of these roundabouts be pushed forward so far.
City administrator Steve Bot said that while they don’t have a specific cost for such an endeavor yet, the city would likely be responsible for half of it (with the help of the developer). Bot said the city would likely use its 450 fund instead of applying for state aid, as turnaround time for the project would be this summer.
“It’s a pretty good crisis,” he said.
Councilor Schön expressed concern about the roundabout and asked if studies had been carried out to see if it was a better option than a traffic light.
“I’m worried it’s just a roundabout,” she said. “As a city official, I am concerned about the safety and well-being of our people. Is that the best option with this development? “
Bot and Weigle then stepped in, saying that roundabouts are becoming the norm on roads like this one and that they can actually be safer in places without a lot of pedestrian traffic. More information will be available as the final draft for the project goes through the approval process.
RENEWED insurance with Dan Zachman of the Zachman Insurance Agency for 2021-22, who spoke with the council and identified the changes from the previous policy. He said they had four main buildings that he thought were “extremely underinsured” – two fire stations, the community center, and a maintenance building – and the rest remained relatively stable.
APPROVED a $ 600 year increase in Fire Department payouts. An update from the fire service assistant secretary Mikal Knotek was also presented to the council.
Set up a workshop for the May 11th meeting to discuss the RISE Modular Apartments project as the developer is requesting additional financial support that the council is currently reluctant to provide.
OPTED to participate in the Wright County Economic Development Authority.
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