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Street closures proposed behind hospital

A public hearing on a proposal to close two streets and an alley for the St. Mary's Innovis Health Center's expansion project will be held Tuesday at the Detroit Lakes City Council meeting.

Discussion of the closings came before the Community Development Committee Thursday afternoon, but no recommendation was given because the city doesn't want any preconceived notions before the public hearing happens.

The closures will include Park Street from McKinley Avenue to Lincoln Avenue, Lincoln Avenue from Oak Street to Frazee Street, and the three block alley behind Holiday gas station.

Community Development Director Larry Remmen said notices have been sent out to neighbors, but he has not heard from anyone except Holiday, stating it is fine with the closing of the alley as long as it is given use of the entire alley and not just half of it. St. Mary's said it is fine with that arrangement.

Remmen said if the closures go forward, they would be finalized Nov. 1 and become property of St. Mary's.

A concern for the city was the utilities located below the streets that serve the expanding campus. Remmen said if the utilities -- sewer, water and storm sewer -- are abandoned, St. Mary's would be responsible for getting new utilities from the campus to the main lines.

If the utilities are not abandoned, since the utilities are at least 60 years old, St. Mary's would be responsible for updating the utilities to the current code.

"We appreciate the collaboration with the city," St. Mary's CEO Tom Thompson said.

Also at the Community Development Committee meeting, the committee agreed with recommendations from the Planning Commission to deny a request from North Star Nursing, located on Canyon Boulevard, to eliminate a mandate for a side yard fence.

The committees agreed that there was a reason for the original fence stipulation so it would not be right to ignore it now. The project was built a couple years ago, they said.

No one was present to speak to the matter but city staff speculated the cost of the fence is the reason for the request.

If the council denies the request to forget about the fence, the fence will be required to be installed this fall yet.

City council meets at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in City Hall.