August 27, 2007

Women's treatment facility to be built in HL

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

The Howard Lake City Council approved the construction of a New Beginnings women’s treatment facility at the site of the current motel during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Sawatzke Investments proposed the plans for the 40-bed residential treatment facility at 210 10th Avenue. The project was granted a land use amendment, a conditional use permit, rezoning, and preliminary and final plat review after a formal public hearing yielded no objections from the public.

The new facility will be added on to the existing motel. The new space will house the living quarters and recreational space, while the existing motel will become office space after construction is complete.

Sawatzke said it would be a completely closed facility with brand new sleeping quarters and staffed by two monitors throughout the night.

Some discussion took place as to what needed to be upgraded and brought up to code in the existing motel in order to temporarily house 20 women while the new facility is under construction.

Plans for new renter of pull tab booth discussed

The city’s municipal liquor store is close to having a new renter for the vacant pull tab booth.

Liquor Store Manager Ruth Voight wanted to clarify that the only reason she originally told the MS Society that the city would not be interested in its offer was because she was waiting for a local organization to express interest, as she had been instructed, which didn’t happen.

Una Kapellusch, representing the Multiple Sclerosis Society, again approached council to further discuss a possible lease agreement.

Local contributions, deposits, and a draft lease agreement will still need some clarification between the MS Society and the city. However, the council did approve to continue discussions and draft the agreement.

In addition to a gambling permit, the MS Society would like the city to consider a gaming permit in order to sponsor events like meat raffles and bingo.

Storm affects cable dept.

Several failures in cable department equipment due to the Aug. 11 storm were described by Interim Cable Department Director Andy Krueger. Most problems have been addressed, but a couple remain.

A computer that aids in programming and slide shows incurred significant damage to several internal components. A black screen is now seen between programs instead of the usual slide show because of the damaged computer. However, the computer is expected to be repaired shortly and hopefully up and running by mid-week.

The air-conditioning fan in the cable department’s truck suddenly stopped working after the storm. Krueger noted that its repair wasn’t a priority.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved the purchase of a new plow for the new street department pickup truck. The winning bid went to North Central Truck Equipment of St. Cloud in the amount of $4,616 for a 8’5” steel v-plow, mounted and wired.

• approved a bid from Burau Construction of Howard Lake in the amount of $5,410 for sidewalk replacement on the west side of 10th Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets.

• agreed to have Woodland Services of Plymouth assist with and provide a tub grinder for chipping the large amount of brush being brought to the city’s compost site following the storm.

Woodland Service will charge the city $280 per hour, which includes the tub grinder, set up and transit fees, and removal of mulch from the site. The company could not estimate the number of hours the job will take.

• granted a variance to Leon Decker to construct an attached garage that will exceed 1,000 square feet (it will be 1,122 square feet) at 2027 Greens Circle.

• following a request by Sunni’s Grille to possibly use the space above the liquor store for future catering events, was notified by the building inspector that some upgrades would need to happen to the building for use as that type of venue.

An automatic sprinkler system would be required in that space and an elevator with an occupant load greater than 30 would be necessary.

Council discussed that these costs could not come out of the budget anytime soon.

“I see the intent as something very good, but I don’t see how we can afford the upgrades that need to be done to make this work,” Council Member Tom Kutz said.

The council decided to take no action on the matter at this time.

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