Mountain Lake City Council addresses Highway 60 upgrade possibility

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Tentative public meeting between city, county, MnDOT, MSP is slated

New ML city council 1
THE MOUNTAIN LAKE City Council. Seated front, from left, Council Member Dana Kass, Mayor Mike Nelson and Council Member Darla Kruser. Standing back, Council Member Andrew Ysker, left and Council Member David Savage, right.

 

A hot topic discussed at the Tuesday, January 16 meeting of the Mountain Lake City Council was the Minnesota State Highway #60 upgrade possibility. Cottonwood Board of Commissioners Chair Tom Appel was at the meeting to review information previously provided by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

Problems with the solutions proposed by MnDOT were identified. MnDOT has proposed options for the three Mountain Lake Highway 60 intersections (Cottonwood County Road #27 on the east and west, and Cottonwood County Road #1 in the center).

MnDOT’s list of possible options includes:

  • Creating a RCUT (reduced conflict U-turn) – J-turn or – RCI (reduced conflict intersection) at the three intersections (at a cost of from $800,000 to $1.2 million for each). RCUTS or J-turns are intersections on multi-lane highways. They allow drivers to turn right from the smaller, local roadway onto the higher speed road and make a U-turn at a nearby opening in the median. They prohibit drivers from making left turns onto the highway.
  • Building an interchange (at a cost of approximately $10 million) or an overpass (for $6 million) at County 1 (which would most likely result in the closure of the east and west highway access roads).
  • Setting the speed limit lower through the area.
  • Using better or different signage.
  • A combination of the above.

Additional alternatives raised in discussion for use at the east and west access points were acceleration or deceleration lanes, along with stoplights at the intersections.

The council, along with the commissioners, intend to hold a public meeting, at which public comments will be taken.

The tentative date for that meeting was set for Monday, February 12, at the Mountain Lake Community Center. That evening, a joint meeting of the council and commission will begin at 6 p.m., during which presentations will be made by MnDOT and the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP). Following the presentations, the council and commission will have the opportunity to discuss and ask questions of both MnDOT and MSP. At 7 p.m., the floor will be opened to the public for questions and comments.

The Mountain Lake Economic Development Authority (EDA) went on record at its Friday, January 12 meeting to unanimously oppose the construction of J-turns at all three Mountain Lake Highway 60 intersections, and requests MnDOT to explore alternative safety solutions.

Tour Loaves & Fishes Food Shelf

Council members and others present took a field trip at the start of the meeting to the Loaves & Fishes Food Shelf, located in the Mountain Lake Community Center. Representatives from the food shelf, Bertha Klassen, Jerry Logue and Mary Oeltjenbruns, explained the various aspects of the operation and discussed the limited space for display and storage of the food stuffs, staples and other supplies, along with other problems.

Other areas of the building were toured.

Possible solutions to the problems were identified and discussed.

In other business

+ Reviewed the minutes of a Tuesday, January 9 special council meeting addressing the search for a new city administrator/clerk. At that meeting, the city council hired David Drown and Associates Human Resources (DDA) as represented by Gary Weirs and Liza Donabauer. DDA representatives were slated to meet with council members and staff on Wednesday, January 17 to determine a tentative timeline.

+ Approved the hiring of M. R. Paving of New Ulm to pave a 2,492-square-foot area of Island Park Campground’s north entry from Prince Street south to the check-in sign/box with four inches of hot mix asphalt at a cost of $8,960 during the 2018 construction season. The project will be paid for from the Street Department’s reserves.

+ Reviewed and discussed the list of Street Department work activities for the past month with Streets/Parks Superintendent Rick Oeltjenbruns.

+ Discussed a quote from Duerksen Electric of Windom for street shop LED lights. Superintendent Oeltjenbruns was directed to get a second quote.

+ Learned that Borsgard Construction of Windom had set a tentative date to start work on the Mountain Lake Public Library project. In addition, Mountain Lake City Administrator/Clerk Wendy Meyer and Mountain Lake Public Library Director Carol Lehman requested council approval to purchase carpet once all quotes are received so that the project can move forward as smoothly and quickly as possible. To that end, the council authorized the administrator and library director to purchase carpet not to exceed $22,000.

+ Agreed to purchase five new computers, a Windows 10 license for all city hall computing and hardware and software to increase on-site back-up. The upgrade recommendations were made by Computer Lodge, the city’s IT consultant, due to system problems.

+ Approved the appointment of Shelby Medina to the Tree Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

+ Accepted the Harder Gift of $9,000 on behalf of the Tree Commission.

+ Waived the rental fee for the Mountain Lake Community Center for the local Boy Scout Troop’s Sunday, February 11 Pancake Breakfast. Funds raised are used by members to attend Boy Scout Camp. Michael Watkins presented the request on half of the Troop.

+ Approved payments to Conductor Power of Brainerd in the amounts of $339,630 and $74,745 for work down on the new electrical sub-station.

+ Reviewed and discussed with Mountain Lake City Attorney Maryellen Suhrhoff of Muske, Suhrhoff and Pidde the revised police fine list and the incorporation into the code of amendment adopted since the code was revised in 2006.

+ Reminded council members of the online training they must take on Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE) by February 1.

+ Discussed a request to waive the special assessment on a parcel of property. Administrator Meyer will complete additional research and report to council members at their next meeting.

+ Heard from Karen Stoesz during Public Forum on problems she sees with the J-turns under consideration for the three entrances to Mountain Lake from Highway 60. She also suggested alternatives.

+ Learned that the next “Coffee with the Council” will be held at 12 noon on Wednesday, February 28, at Jubilee Foods/Peacemeals. Mountain Lake Mayor Mike Nelson and Mountain Lake City Council Member Andy Ysker will attend.

+ The next city council meeting will be Monday, February 5, 6:30 p.m., in the Mountain Lake City Council Chambers.

2018 meeting schedule

Council meetings will be held the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. – with the following exceptions:

  • January meetings will be held Tuesday, January 2 and Tuesday, January 16 due to New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Junior Day observance.
  • Second February meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 20, due to Presidents’ Day observance.
  • Second June meeting will be held on Monday, June 25 to Pow Wow celebration.
  • July meetings will be held Monday, July 9 and Monday, July 23.
  • First September meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 4 due to Labor Day observance.
  • December meetings will be held Tuesday, December 4 and Tuesday, December 18 due to school events.
City of Mountain Lake Meeting Dates

+ Mountain Lake City Council meets the first and third Mondays of every month at 7 p.m.

+ Utilities Commission meets the second and fourth Thursdays of every month at 7 a.m.

+ Economic Development Authority (EDA) meets the second Friday of every month at 12 noon.

+ Lake Commission meets the second Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m.

+ Library Board meets the second Wednesday of every month at 4:45 p.m.

+ Police Commission meets the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m.

+ Planning and Zoning meets the last Monday of the month, if needed.

+ Tree Commission meets quarterly – January, April, July and October – at 7:45 p.m.

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