By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Upon entering a neighborhood, it is not uncommon to see a monument welcoming one into the area.
Westridge Hills, Clover Springs, Marsh Ridge, and Woods Creek are just a few of those that pepper Delano’s landscape.
At a recent Delano City Council meeting, local officials approved a policy that will allow and encourage those who live in these neighborhoods to take responsibility of the entrance monuments.
Each year, city staff receives requests from residents for either maintenance work on their monument, or materials for work they have planned, according to a memo to the council from assistant to the city administrator Luke Fischer.
He said the city does not always have the staffing hours available to address the maintenance issues, but said the city typically has the materials residents need.
Fischer and city staff developed a policy that will address these requests, and will give residents some options in terms of mulch and plantings that the city has available. City staff would then also have the opportunity to coordinate clean-ups with these “monument groups” as well, Fischer noted.
When a development is built, the developer typically maintains the monument, then turns it over to the city after a period of time. It was noted there are one or two monuments that are still presently maintained by a developer.
It is the City of Delano’s policy to maintain neighborhood monuments, landscaping features, and cul-de-sac islands within the community to a “low maintenance” standard. However, the city understands that neighborhood groups may wish to maintain these features to a higher standard, according to the policy.
The purpose of the policy that was approved is to outline a process for neighborhood groups to add different landscaping features, apply for city resources available to groups, and an approval process for site changes.
Before any work may begin on a monument or landscaping in the right-of-way, a neighborhood liaison must be registered with the City of Delano.
The liaison will serve as a contact person within the interested neighborhood and will be designated for one year. It is the responsibility of this person to submit all pertinent documents to the city prior to the commencement of any work.
The liaison will be responsible for submitting a scope of work form (available online or at the Delano City Hall) before making any site changes to the monuments.
All scope of work forms must be approved by the city before improvements can be made. The neighborhood liaison will be notified in writing of city alterations and approval of the scope of work form in a timely manner, according to the policy.
Because the monuments are often in the right-of-way, all improvements should not impair the operation of any motor vehicle, infringe upon sight lines, or grow into the roadway, sidewalk, trail, or other traveled surface, it was further noted.
All plantings ought to be hardy, non-noxious, and generally low maintenance. Any alterations applied to monuments ought to be consistent with the original design in order to maintain the way finding properties of neighborhood signage.
The policy was also reviewed by the Delano Park and Recreation Committee at its August meeting and was recommended for approval.
“I think the policy will be a good policy to adopt,” commented Mayor Joe McDonald, noting it “is up to us those who live there to step up and take ownership” of the monuments.