By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Nathan Twomey has purchased Little Falls Glass on Sixth Street Southeast. He owns half of the property between Fifth and Sixth Street Southeast and Broadway and First Avenues Southeast.
On the backside of his property an alley has been platted, but not installed.
Public Works Director Jerry Lochner said that while the alley behind Twomey’s business is a platted alley, it is a “paper alley only,” meaning it’s there, but only on paper.
Twomey has asked the city that a gravel alley be installed, for a number of reasons.
Twomey told the Council Monday, that he plans to expand in a couple of years and safety is a concern, with several semi-trucks coming in on a weekly basis.
To be neighborly, Twomey said he was asking for just 200 feet on the south side to alleviate any problems for neighbors along the north side of the area.
The Council also heard from Ron and Kess Lyschik, who own Zoomski’s on the northwest side of the alley. Representatives from Gold Cross Ambulance, with property also on the west side, were not present.
Ron Lyschik said he was not in favor of installing the alley and called it “premature.”
He said if there’s further development on the north end of the block, if another business goes in that space, he felt that business may want to use the space for something other than an alley, such as parking.
Ron also said between Twomey’s business and the Gold Cross Ambulance business, “There’s a natural way that water drains on the block, there’s a ditch.”
With Twomey’s property being at a higher elevation, Ron felt there would be drainage problems at both Gold Cross and Zoomski’s.
Kess said she considered the area “an attractive nuisance.” She said it provides green space and a place for the farmers market, which brings more than 60 vendors to the city throughout the season.
Also worried about drainage, Kess felt a gravel alley would create dust.
As far as safety, Kess said since semis don’t deliver on a daily basis, she felt there was no need to tear the 200 feet up.
From the city’s standpoint, Lochner said if a gravel alley was put in, the city would bear the cost. If the alley were tarred, the bituminous would be assessed to property owners.
Having the alley open all the way through would make it easier for the city to plow, Lochner said, although as part of his request, Twomey indicated he would plow and maintain the 200-foot alley.
Lochner said the storm sewer on Fifth Street could handle any drainage, but that a storm sewer easement may be required, perhaps from Gold Cross Ambulance.
The Council must make a decision about whether to proceed with the alley or not.
Lochner said the topic was “kind of controversial.”
“We like to see the business expand and improve,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s nice to respect what’s there with the farmers market, foot traffic, etc.”
The Council decided to look at the property first before making a decision, asking that the issue be put on the Council’s Oct. 21 agenda for consideration.
Little Falls Council Briefs
In other business Monday, the Little Falls Council:
• Accepted the resignation of Gabrielle Meyer from the Youth Task Force Committee;
• Approved the rehabilitation of the city’s well 3 on the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and First Street Northeast, by Traut Wells Inc., Waite Park, at a cost not to exceed $69,509;
• Approved the only bid received for the Oct. 26 fall leaf and brush collection, that being from Bob LeMieur Rolloffs, Refuse and Recycling at a cost of $2,778, $2 less than in 2012;
• Approved on a 7-1 vote, the sale of Lot 1 – 8, Block 1, Subdivision of Block 30, Searle’s Addition to Legacy Management and Development Company LLC, for $72,000. Council Member At Large Brian-Paul Crowder voted against;
• Approved the installation of a street light on Mary Ann Avenue, 300 feet east of Eighteenth Street, where the new Faith Lutheran Church is being built; and
• Approved taking part in a mutual aid agreement with the Minnesota Water Agency Response Network, that allows governmental entities to assist each other with water, wastewater and storm water utilities in cases of emergency, sharing employees and equipment.
The next regular Little Falls City Council meeting is Monday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.