By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Concerns about the appearance and costs of the two monuments into downtown Delano at the intersection of Highway 12 and Bridge Avenue made for a lengthy discussion at a Delano City Council work session Tuesday night.
The main point of discussion was the wording that is to be etched onto the monuments. From there, conversation spanned into the whole process of the monument creation, costs, and the recommendations from the aesthetics committee.
Delano Mayor Joe McDonald admitted “the plan’s been changed a dozen times already,” and said he has received negative feedback regarding the monuments, but also some positive.
Council Member Holly Schrupp said when she’s asked about the monuments, she reminds people that the monuments are not yet finished and will include etching, vines, and landscaping features.
Council Member Brad Hotchkiss echoed McDonald’s feelings, asking what the aesthetics committee has been doing and why the plan has changed so many times.
“I’m very frustrated with the way this whole thing has gone,” Hotchkiss said.
McDonald said once resident concerns were starting to be received by council members and city staff, issues were brought right to the city council and not the aesthetics committee.
Schrupp, who sits on the aesthetics committee, said the committee has not met since before the stones began being worked on late last year.
“It’s all been coming here (to the council),” Schrupp added.
Randy Szarzynski of Maple Plain, who is heading up the project and was at the work session, said he has not heard the concerns about the monuments that the city council and staff has.
McDonald told Szarzynski some of the unfavorable things he has heard about the monuments.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Szarzynski said.
Discussion took place between the council and Szarzynski about what the stones should say. Options included using some or all of the words “Welcome to Historic Downtown Delano Est. 1868.”
In December, the concept showed only “Delano Est. 1868” being on the center of the three rocks on each of the two monuments.
Szarzynski said the wording on the stones is “kind of minor” when it comes to the project as a whole.
After a failed vote to include the words “historic downtown,” a second motion was made and approved on a split vote for the monuments to read “Welcome to Delano Est. 1868.”
McDonald, Hotchkiss, and Council Member Larry Bartels voted in favor of this motion, and Schrupp and Council Member Betsy Stolfa voted against it.
More discussion took place about the wording on the stones, with Szarzynski noting he preferred to have the word “historic” included. A motion was made and passed to reconsider the motion that was previously approved.
A final motion was made to include the word “historic” instead of “welcome to,” which was unanimously passed by the council. In the end, the final decision for the wording will read “Historic Delano, Est. 1868.”
Confusion over the monument costs
The fact that some people seem to think the monuments themselves cost $300,000 has also been a concern city staff has been forced to address.
The $300,000 is the entire cost of the whole Bridge Avenue project costs, according to the city.
Of that $300,000, the city budgeted $30,000 for the monuments at the corner of Bridge Avenue and Highway 12.
The total project cost for the monuments came in at $20,750, which is about 30 percent less than what the city budgeted for the creation of the monuments.
The entire Bridge Avenue project has been funded by the city’s capital improvement fund, it was noted in December 2009.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• reviewed preliminary information on a study being conducted on the feasibility of a northwest industrial park.
The survey will address issues such as land availability, cost, utility fees, development plans, and construction costs.
The city council directed city staff to continue meeting with two affected landowners, and a full report on the feasibility study will be presented to the council in the next few weeks.
• reviewed a draft request for proposals from the city to determine the value of municipal electric utility. Several changes were noted and the draft agreement will be revised by city staff.
• agreed to allow the relocation of bandshell that presently sits in Central Park to a new location behind the fence at Dave Zitzloff Memorial Field on the north side of the park.
The bandshell will be converted into a seating/grandstand area for that field. The area where the bandstand presently sits will be used for additional event space during the Fourth of July Celebration, specifically allowing for a larger tent to have live music under.