Though no decisions were made at Wednesday's special meeting of the Detroit Lakes City Council, several concepts were reviewed for additional streetscaping to be done at the mini-roundabout which will replace the current T-intersection of Washington Avenue and North Shore Drive.
Following a lengthy discussion, council members were each asked for their input on the proposal, and indicated that they found the concept sound, but did not want to take action until they had an estimate of what the additional cost would be. Discussion then turned to how the additional costs would be funded, whether via special assessments to adjacent landowners, or a combination of city liquor store/public utilities funding.
City Engineer Jon Pratt asked for, and received, a general consensus from the council that he could begin working with the contractors to come up with a solid estimate on how much the additional streetscaping would cost.
"It looks great — beautiful," said Alderman Jamie Marks-Erickson.
"I like it too," said Alderman Dan Josephson — but added that he had a concern about some of the plantings that were shown in the concept design.
"If we're going to be putting plants in there, we need to make a commitment to maintain that stuff, as a city," he said.
Pratt said that some sort of irrigation system may need to be included to ensure that the plantings will thrive in that location.
The council is expected to reach a final decision at its July 14 meeting on whether to include the additional work in the current $3.4 million project, which will completely reconstruct Washington Avenue between Willow Street and West Lake Drive. The project is slated to begin construction in mid-July.
Also at the meeting, the council reviewed its options for relocating, remodeling, and/or expanding the city administration building at 1025 Roosevelt Ave.
Though the city has been eyeing 2021 as a target date for the project, a potential buyer for the current administration building site has lent some urgency to the discussion. According to City Administrator Kelcey Klemm, the city was approached in late 2019 by a developer looking for potential sites for commercial development. After reviewing multiple locations, the developer asked about the possibility of purchasing the current administration building site, and while no decisions were made during Wednesday's meeting, the council did not dismiss the possibility out of hand.
If the administration building were to be moved, there are several possibilities that the council has been considering, including the former Ulteig Engineering building — a site in which the Detroit Lakes School District is also quite interested, Klemm noted — as well as buildings owned by Precision Printing, Detroit Lakes Newspapers, and the current Detroit Lakes Public Works building (the city is also in the midst of considering options for a new public works facility in the industrial park).
Other discussion at Wednesday's meeting included how the city might spend an estimated $714,000 in potential funding under the recently approved federal legislation known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
One action item was unanimously approved: A temporary 3.2 liquor license was granted to the Detroit Lakes Jaycees for their Thursday, July 9, Community Night celebration at the Detroit Lakes City Park.