Council votes 5-3 to make ‘paper alley’ a real one

By Terry LehrkeNews Editor

Although Nathan Twomey requested that just 200 feet of the area designated as an alley behind his property be installed, the Little Falls Council voted 5-3 to install the alley all the way through.

Twomey’s business, Little Falls Glass, is located 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 the property the alley had been platted, but not installed.

Public Works Director Jerry Lochner called it a “paper alley only,” because it’s been platted, but not installed.

Property owners on the west side of the area, Ron and Kess Lyschik who own Zoomski’s and Gold Cross Ambulance, were not in favor of the alley being installed and outlined their reasons to the Council at its Oct. 21 meeting.

The Lyschiks said the installation would be premature and shared concerns about drainage problems, since Twomey’s property was at a higher elevation.

So too, the Farmers Market that sets up on the Zoomski’s property uses some of the alley area as parking. Another concern was dust from the gravel alley and the possibility that another business would come into the space, needing the area for parking.

The city will bear the cost of installing the gravel alley. If the request were for it to be tarred, the property owners would be assessed.

Having the alley open all the way through would make it easier for the city to plow, Lochner said.

Council Member Jeremy Hanfler said he drove by the area and said the alley was lower than the properties on the west side and felt there would be no water drainage issues.

Council Member At Large Brian-Paul Crowder noted the alley area was owned by the city, and was open to the public to use.

Council President Don Klinker said it would be the only block in the area to have an alley. Hanfler said another business in the area, Fitness Connection, uses its vacated alley as a driveway.

Council Member Frank Gosiak said he had some concerns about the danger of someone shooting out of the alley, causing an accident. He wondered whether someone should talk to the Police Department about any dangers.

Those voting against installing the alley were Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem, Klinker and Gosiak.