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Anger simmers on Roosevelt Avenue

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Roosevelt Avenue may look nicer after being resurfaced this summer, there's no disputing that, but residents along the street are disputing the distribution of assessments for the work done on it.

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An asphalt mill Roosevelt Avenue may look nicer after being resurfaced this summer, there's no disputing that, but residents along the street are disputing the distribution of assessments for the work done on it.and overlay on Roosevelt Avenue from North Shore Drive to Park Street and a "full depth reclamation" from State Street to Highway 34 had residents upset at the high assessments they are now paying, several for a road they don't even have access to anymore.

"I don't live on Roosevelt Avenue, I live on Oak Street," said Kyle Fondrick, who lives at the corner of the two streets and said he doesn't even have access to Roosevelt Avenue anymore.

Tom Lormis, speaking on behalf of Grace Lutheran Church, agreed, saying the church has been assessed thousands on past street projects and doesn't even have access to the street, but is now being assessed more for this project.

He said the city actually caused the street to be a major thoroughfare, especially with the underpass being built. Thousands of cars use the street each day, but the church is paying a large assessment for the few hundred cars that use the street once a week to go to church.

"What's fair for the property owner?" he asked.

Alderman Ron Zeman said that churches don't have to pay taxes and they are assessed as residential instead of commercial, so it's a compromise the city is trying to do to be fair.

Residential lots on the North Roosevelt Avenue project were assessed $26.41 per foot of frontage, and commercial lots were assessed $38.02 a frontage foot. Those assessments were 50 percent of the project. The city pays the other 50 percent.

Chiropractor Jennifer Pedersen, whose building is along Roosevelt Avenue across from Dynamic Homes, wrote a letter disputing the assessment as well. She said that the businesses and homeowners shouldn't be paying for a major city street that everyone uses.

For the southern portion of the project, residential lots were assessed at $17.14 a frontage foot, and commercial was assessed $19.14 per foot. The assessments for this portion of the project were 75 percent to homeowners because it was a less expensive project. The city paid the remaining 25 percent.

Fondrick said he doesn't see how the street improvements did anything to improve the value of his home since he can't even access the street.

"Where is my benefit," he questioned.

He said he's not the only house along Roosevelt being assessed for the street they don't have access to either. If the commercial area continues to grow, he said, assess the businesses, not the homeowners around them.

Some that have access, but no longer have parking on Roosevelt, were also at the meeting.

"The project, the city did a fine job," Karl Jorgenson said, but Roosevelt Avenue one block north of Willow Street was restriped when it was rehabilitated and people can no longer park on the street.

"It doesn't turn our world upside down, but it does have an effect," he said.

Some people need that parking for their own vehicles or for when friends and family come to visit. He said people's home values could go down because they no longer have that parking available.

He said the city should have let the citizens know better that it would be restriped so more could have spoken out against it.

Fondrick added that it's hypocritical of the city to make residents pay for the Roosevelt Avenue project and then take away their parking on top of it.

Though the council members listened to the comments from the public, they passed the motion of proposed assessments with no discussion, saying the city followed procedure.

Liquor store opening

Monday

"The time has finally reached us," Lakes Liquors Manager Brad MacMaster said.

The new municipal liquor store is opening Monday, and MacMaster has multiple events planned throughout the rest of the year.

Nov 20-21, there will be wine tasting, and on Nov. 26, as part of the Light Up the Lakes event in town, there will be an open house at the liquor store. There will be hot cider and some wine tastings. That Friday, there will be a beer tasting as well.

Dec. 6 will be the grand opening event with tastings and door prizes. The grand opening will last all week with various activities, and then there will be more specials around Christmas.

"It will be a good addition to the city," Alderman G.L. Tucker said.

Alderman Madalyn Sukke said she has been in the store and it should certainly bring in more women customers.

"It's light, bright and very reachable," she said of the lower shelves.

Heartland Trail bond

The council agreed to enter a service agreement with Flaherty & Hood to have the firm lobby legislators to include funds for the Heartland Trail between Detroit Lakes and Frazee.

The agreement is for $10,000. Detroit Lakes will pay $7,000 of that, and Frazee will pay $3,000. Detroit Lakes' portion will come out of the general fund.

"We believe there will be a bonding bill (next year) and we want to be prepared for that," Alderman Bruce Imholte said.

Waste water rates increase

The council approved a slight increase in waste water fees for 2013. A service charge to those connected to city water will now be $12.05 a month and $42 a month to those not connected.

The previous rates were $11.50 and $40, respectively.

A commodity charge up to the first 100,000 cubic feet per month is now $2.80 per 100 cubic feet, and $1.85 per cubic feet per month for the balance.

Those are increases from $2.65 and $1.75, respectively.

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