Howard Lake Herald, January 19, 1998

These were the comments in Howard Lake city survey

See also: City Council reactions to survey

1. Clean up and paint buildings on main street and downtown.

2. The current city hall/liquor store building is an historic landmark for Howard Lake. This historic building could, and would be, much more respectable without the liquor store in it. Expand city offices in the existing building. This would enable further use of this building, and allow for more community pride in this historic building. If the land is available, move the off-sale liquor store; that would be a prudent move.

3. Publish reports of council meetings in the Herald for those who do not have cable.

4. Some businesses need to do some remodeling on the back of their buildings because it is beginning to look terrible. Look what happened to the old hardware store building. These owners should put forth some effort into their buildings.

5. Repair the sidewalks, it is urgent.

6. Put up some basketball hoops at your tennis courts, which nobody has used since you built them and wasted our tax money.

7. The worst idea you could have is to close the liquor store. It generates a lot of income for Howard Lake taxpayers.

8. I have lived in Howard Lake all my life. The city hall should be restored no matter where the money comes from.

9. The Horsch Addition should have city sewer and water.

10. Enlarge the liquor off-sale store.

11. Enforcement of any ordinance that will clean up the town - cars, trucks, trash, junk, clutter.

12. How about a coat of paint in downtown and remove the decaying buildings.

13. Beatification in downtown.

14. The cement boat launch needs major repair.

15. Basketball hoops need to be replaced and maintained off of Yeager field.

16. Better sirens for storms. North side is unprotected.

17. Remodel or remove buildings along Hwy 12. Develop a strip mall on the south side of Block 18 and have parking adjacent to Hwy 12.

18. Spruce up or at least paint the rear side of the video store to blend in with the post office and the bank.

19. Parks are in poor condition and need to be updated and made safe.

20. Get rid of old business buildings.

21. Need more youth programs.

22. Regulate new construction more closely. Make sure builders treat their buyers more fairly and don't cheat them out of quality of work.

23. The restoration of downtown, keeping the small town, old town concept by restoring buildings as opposed to rebuilding.

24. With the Highway 12 project, we should concentrate on new business in our downtown.

25. Privatize on sale liquor and expand off sale liquor at new location.

26. Move city hall to new location, move police station to current city hall and expand on-sale and privatize.

27. Pursue legal actions against the consulting firm and well-drilling company.

28. We recommend hiring a law firm that has experience in dealing with well-drilling.

29. As a recent purchaser of a home in this city. I am appalled at how this city is run and how you argue over the smallest things, while the matters that really need attention are let go without care, until it costs us twice as much. I am also beginning to feel that this is not a family-orientated city anymore and may not be such a good place to raise children.

30. Make the buildings in the downtown look better, so people would want to live here and be proud of the town that they live in.

31. Buildings on Highway 12 need to be torn down or given a face lift.

32. I'm concerned about the Highway 12 issue. City hall needs to be accessible. If Highway 12 makes that impossible then we should expand the library/community room/city offices.

33. Need to find some incentive for small business in downtown to fix up their storefronts.

34. Consider a volunteer group within the community to fix up rundown homes (outside) or perhaps a high school class for credit.

35. The 2nd floor of city hall should be renovated and made useful to city employees. Consider an elevator for handicapped access. I believe this would be less expensive than a new building site for city offices.

36. Above all, please remember we are a small town with small town incomes. City offices and the way you spend our tax dollars should reflect this. We do not want you to work in a facility that is not usable, but please spend wisely.

37. Many storefronts and rears need help (at least paint) in the downtown.

38. Get rid of the Masonic hall.

39. 15 mph speed limit around the school - police student drivers leaving the school parking lot. After school and games, park on 8th Avenue to observe.

40. Need more community meeting places for nonprofit organizations. The community room is always full and we can' t use the fire barn for anything.

41. Many housing projects are being built for low income young people. We would like to see a housing project with attached garages built for senior citizens to either buy or rent.

42. You're doing a good job, just don't do too many bigger city things too quick. We need to stay, or attempt to stay, a friendly small town.

43. Should have annexed the entire lake instead of only going part way. The houses in the Horsch Addition would be a nice addition to the city.

44. We need housing in years to come, and lots of it.

45. Maintaining an old historic building is very expensive to the owners. If our downtown area buildings were in better condition, this might be viable, but I feel buildings like Paschke's and Gerry's make more sense.

46. Better playing towers like other communities have in their parks and schools.

47. Use our money to improve city water.

48. There are three disturbing odors in town that need to be addressed.

49. Very pleased to see people like the Van Osses and Sawatzkes fixing up old buildings and making our town inviting.

50. Renovate city hall since it's part of the town history.

51. All buildings in downtown should have to be maintained and painted completely so U.S. Highway 12 looks neat and inviting to the public.

52. The town needs housing for seniors that need help, but not a nursing home ­ assisted living.

53. Fast food restaurants create jobs for teens. Walmart and Target would be nice.

54. Our city has an excellent area for the ice rink. Why can't it be kept up? There are no hockey programs in the district and I know a lot of people who would like to be able to play. Keeping the ice nice during the winter isn't that hard.

55. Repair the ice rink.

56. More modern development like fast food and malls.

57 More recreation programs so kids have a place to go.

58. Have persons with a lot of junk cars, garbage in their yards clean it up.

59. It would be nice if we had a large enough community room in town so that it could be used or rented out for private parties weddings, etc.

60. Promote additional small business development, and even industrial park development, which could increase the tax base and provide additional revenue for city projects.

61. The hockey rink either needs to be repaired and updated or moved to another location.

62. Metro phone lines.

63. Metro phone system.

64. Do what it takes to get quality water in this town.

65.The current city hall looks okay, but we need restoration of other business buildings in town first.

66. Dogs - I am sick and tired of listening to all the dogs barking in the neighborhood. There should be a penalty for people who continue to let their dogs bark after being warned. Taxpayers should have more rights than dogs do.

67. Move the city offices and police department to the new library addition and make the old city hall a city museum.

68. Drill a new well next to the one you filled with cement.

69. Make the lake work for Howard Lake.

70. City should encourage businesses to improve their building facades on all buildings to attract customers.

71. Howard Lake has a history, use it.

72. Make Howard Lake shopper- friendly, because this will better the tax base and the townspeople will be happier.

73. Save city hall building. With upgrades ­ it could be a great and fun place to work. Save the building, and with a little work, downtown has a great potential, if someone can see past their nose and personal gain. Create a simple yet positive place to shop. Relax and enjoy life. The lake is God's gift to Howard Lake, so use it and expand on it.

74. City hall - sell the ugly old building and get all city offices and businesses out of it. It's not handicapped-accessible, poor location and too expensive to make usable.

75. Liquor business is not appropriate government business.

76. We feel our council has their minds made up before they even listen to the opinions. Why have a meeting open to the public if decisions are already made?

77. Tax, tax, tax, how much money do you think people have? Every time we turn around we hear, "Add it to their taxes; raise the taxes". When it comes to our money you better be listening to what citizens want. I could on and on, but why. This survey will do no good if the city council doesn't use it.

78. Downtown - make it more inviting.

79. Be careful, too much low income housing will ruin a city - case-in-point is Brooklyn Park.

80. Make people keep their property cleaned up. Enforce ordinances for everyone. Consider an ordinance that would require a house to be up to code and in good condition before it can be sold.

81. We feel the business district needs a face lift.

82. Do something to get business in the empty buildings. These buildings look terrible. They make our town look tacky.

83. We do not want sidewalks on all city streets. Keep up the ones in place already, but don't add any more.

84. The egg plant makes our town stink and gives a terrible impression to visitors.

85. Expand the library, which is utilized by many community members of all ages. Combine the community center, city offices, and council chambers. These are used by a minority of our citizens. Why can't the community center and council chambers be one in the same?

86. If city offices need more space, why not utilize the empty business buildings on Highway 12? Remodel them, gain space, give a better impression of our city from Highway 12, and save money.

87. Thank you for doing this survey and for all your hard work.

88. Face lift to all downtown business buildings.

89. Need a light by the corner of city hall.

90.1 do not like all the restriction on building or improving housing. We can not afford to make improvements and pay building permits. Also, all of the codes that are enforced are too restrictive.

91. Encourage property owners to clean up junk cars, junk, and brush.

92. Downtown - better parking, more business.

93. Need comprehensive plan for business district with guidelines on exterior improvements to make downtown appear unified. Keep up with the older look of most buildings. Some of the buildings look very shabby and false fronts with bizarre colors really degrade older buildings.

94. Since this is such a small town we like to walk everywhere. Most places in town have no sidewalk or it just ends in the middle of some blocks. Improve the sidewalks.

95. Walking and biking trail system - this is an excellent idea, especially if it could go around the lake. A lot of people come here during the summer.

96. The lake is the attraction.

97. Howard Lake is growing and a definite plan as to how you want this downtown to look to visitors needs to be addressed. Form a task force to get business owners thinking of themselves as a team.

98. Invest money now in improvements and you'll see more people interested in stopping. Nobody is interested in a dumpy looking place. The city hall area is a prime location. Its too bad that the businesses and the railroad tracks have to run in the area along the lake. There is so much nice property behind these places that is under-utilized and improperly zoned. There should be no industry on lake shore property.

99. I think a plan for what will happen to city hall needs to be addressed before decisions are made. The building needs to be saved.

100. Do not approve using tax dollars to demolish the lodge building.

101. Change the charge on garbage and recyclables. Senior citizens do not have garbage every week.

102. We moved here in 1990 and our taxes have almost doubled since then. Pretty hard on senior citizens on a fixed income.

103. Clean up old junk and/or destroy it.

104. The council is too self-centered and close-minded. They need to work with and communicate with business and industry in the town.

105. The city council could set up a city hall restoration fund to be put toward renovating the city hall.

106. Use the liquor proceeds to improve the inside of the liquor store, instead of putting it toward the general fund.

107. Don't waste tax money on the city hall. It is not worth repairing because it is not accessible to the public.

108. The liquor store is a deterrent to lives of our young people and an embarrassment to our town.

109. Clean up the property in town, both businesses and homes that look really bad. Our taxes are high enough. Fill holes in streets. Sweep streets more.

110. Our young adults need something to do. Have a job service set up for them to do yard work, snow removal, baby-sitting, housework, or visiting seniors.

111. Basically the town should attract more industry into the community. This will create more jobs. We need more industry to support the food establishments that are now open.

112. Howard Lake needs a lot of work. It will grow. Listen and weigh the facts. Help business and don't hinder.

113. City hall is the best building in town. Put in an elevator and use the upstairs for city business. We would then have room for all city uses.

114. Sweep streets more often.

115. Relocate odor producing businesses.

116. Highway 12 needs some updating and change to its streetscape.

117. Communicate your ideas with the community. We have some great possibilities in town. Communicate and motivate.

118. Keep the liquor store operating as is. Where else can you get money without raising your taxes.

119. Howard Lake does not control development in a way that it takes advantage of shoreline amenities. Too many warehouses downtown. The planning and zoning committee needs training in design and support for consistent enforcement. There is a need to consider a long-term approach to the city.

120. You spent thousands of dollars on a different street sweeper and they do a poor job cleaning. Let's clean the streets better, that is why we have a sweeper.

121. Why can't we work on one job first, and get that done, and done right, then go to another. Don't do so many things at once Why can't we, the taxpayers, vote on some of these issues? We have to pay for these things.

122. Access to business in downtown through back doors off parking lot.

123. Sweep the streets, fix the holes.

124. This town looks so crummy. Make everyone clean up their yards and get rid of junk cars.

125. We think its terrible that the ice rinks can't be kept up better. It's bad enough we don't have enough kids interested in hockey, but those who are don't have any decent ice.

126. Better-looking and more accessibility to the back doors of most business places.

127. Have people fix up main street so it isn't such an eyesore.

128. Clean up certain residences in town. If occupants can't afford to haul items away, the city should bring in large dumpsters, send two men to load it, and pay to have it disposed. It is a hazard to people, and people that come to Howard Lake get a bad impression.

129. Repair the sidewalks, they are dangerous.

130. Clean up and paint some buildings in the downtown, they need it.

131. Annex more land, so homes can be built.

132.The city hall building should be the city hall, not a liquor store.

133. City council must support both existing and new businesses in our town.

134. We need a civil defense siren on County Road 6, just past the fairgrounds. The people living out here cannot hear the one in town.

135. Use the money the liquor store makes to fix it up.

136. Downtown improvements should be paid for by the business owners.

137. We need more police patrols on County Road 6 north to take care of speeding problems.

138 All improvements in downtown to be paid by downtown businesses. Don't saddle costs on working-class people.

139. Enforce speed limits on County Road 6.

140. Lobby for County Road 6 to be re-routed. Mandate sewer and water around the lake for everyone. Maybe businesses with smells should do something about them. Either enforce the speed laws in town, or drop the salary of one officer to pay for other needs.

141. Patrol County Road 6, it's a race track.

142. New lighting and refurbish the existing buildings. Clean up back of businesses towards Block 18 parking lot as promised when the parking lot was planned.

143. We need to encourage new industry and business to locate in Howard Lake so we can grow with the other towns around us. Competition is good for business.

144. Fix the current sidewalks, we do not need new ones.

145. Priority is to clean up unsightly residences.

146. We should do whatever is necessary to keep city hall as is. It is a beautiful building, actually one of the very few nice looking buildings on our main street.

147. More restaurants like McDonald's and Taco Bell. Stores like Walmart and Target.

148. Give all businesses a make over.

149. Remove eyesores along Highway 12, and prepare lots for commercial expansion.

150. Building regulations should go by the book. Hold builders and developers responsible for any deviations.

151. More recreation programs for teens.

152. Some of the housing on Highway 12 and County Road 6 present a very bad image of Howard Lake.

153. Improve faces of the buildings in downtown, tear down or condemn buildings.

154. Keep streets sanded and salted at intersections.

155. Building fronts in downtown could be a little better looking.

156. City hall should be put back to its original condition. Remove old buildings in downtown if they are below code.

157. Develop a priority list of below-average buildings and properties, and set an action plan for upgrades, and how and when they should be completed. All other programs are unimportant until this town is pleasant looking.

158 Main street - (Highway 12) get rid of junk cars and upgrade buildings falling apart.

159. Business owners could take a lesson from the Country Store and the Antique Store.

160. Make storefronts in downtown more classy and not so sloppy with bad colors.

161. A community swimming pool would be nice.

162. A pool, indoor or outdoor, for the kids in town. Someone is going to get hurt walking out to the beach.

163. Clean up business buildings in downtown and empty buildings.

164. Bathrooms at Lions Park and a swimming pool.

165. Update outside appearance of buildings in downtown.

166. Older buildings in downtown need improvements.

167. Renew downtown business exteriors. Paint, etc.

168. We need a swimming pool and a exercise room.

169. Downtown - a theme to pull the look of the town together in Howard Lake.

170. The sidewalks around town are really in bad shape for walking.

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