By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN “There’s a rumor going around that I am resigning, but that’s just somebody’s wishful thinking,” said Howard Lake Mayor Rick Lammers at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
He informed the council that he is not planning to resign, and he will be running for office again.
Park improvements in Howard Lake
Howard Lake continues to make progress on the 12th Street park. Curbing around the playground area has been completed.
Public Works Director Tom Goepfert reported that the drain tile is working, and his staff is working to fill in dirt before adding the 6 inches of rubber mulch.
“It should be done in two weeks if we have good weather,” Goepfert said.
Council Member Pete Zimmerman asked if a bench is going to be installed at the park, as was discussed last fall.
The city budgets money for items like that each year, and a bench or two will be installed at the park, City Administrator Kelly Hinnenkamp said.
The council also approved improvements to the beach and shoreline at Lions Park, to be done by Cattail Corners at a cost of about $6,000.
Hinnenkamp reported that an insurance claim had been filed to pay for damages caused last year due to high water in Howard Lake.
The shoreline and beach eroded badly, and the block wall surrounding the beach crumbled, Hinnenkamp noted.
However, people are beginning to use the beach, so the city would like repairs to be made soon, rather than waiting to hear back from the insurance company, Hinnenkamp said.
The cost to make the repairs will come out of park funds if the insurance claim is denied, Hinnenkamp said.
Compost site hours
It was decided that the Howard Lake compost site will be open longer hours under supervision after concerned citizens addressed the council.
Previously, the council decided the compost site would remain open without supervision during the day, with public works staff unlocking the gate to the compost site in the morning, and the police department locking it at night.
“I hope you think twice before rushing into this,” said resident Ellis Lutter.
Allowing the compost site to be open without supervision is a mistake, Lutter said, noting that Mike Lauzer assists residents when they are dropping off compost items.
Without supervision, garbage would be mixed in with the compost, making it unusable, Lutter added.
Residents may also drop off other items that could potentially cost the city more to dispose of than having the compost supervised, Lutter noted.
“I think in the long run, it is much more cost effective to have someone there,” Lutter said.
Howard Lake resident Mike Lauzer, who is the supervisor for the compost site, also addressed the council.
Recently, he has turned away grass clippings that had wood shingles mixed in, dock parts, and banding materials that were brought to the compost site, Lauzer said.
“If you want to be open longer, that is not a problem for me,” Lauzer said, noting he is retired. “But you have to keep an eye on it.”
During council discussion, Hinnenkamp noted that $2,000 is spent by the city to have the compost site open two days per week (Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesday 5 to 7 p.m.).
The compost site is also open longer hours in the spring and fall, Hinnenkamp added.
The council’s biggest concern was the hours the compost site is open, noting many people are still completing yard work at 1 p.m. Saturdays and cannot make it to the compost site before it closes.
Residents then have to wait until Wednesday evening before the compost site is open again, and then it is only open two hours.
The council decided to extend the hours the compost site is open. It will be open Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No decision on Posey Patch parking posts
The council decided to table discussion regarding parking posts for the parking lot adjacent to the Posey Patch.
The council was approached at a previous meeting with a request that something be done to keep vehicles from consistently hitting the Posey Patch building, causing damage.
The plan presented to the council called for three parking posts, and three concrete planters, which would cost approximately $1,000, Hinnenkamp said.
The concrete planters weigh about 550 pounds each, and cost about $240 each.
The posts picked out by city staff and the Posey Patch owners are polyethylene (plastic), and cost about $49 each.
Hinnenkamp informed the council there is money available in the sign budget that can be used for this project.
However, city engineer Barry Glienke of Bolton & Menk noted that the plastic posts will not stop a vehicle from running into the building.
Concrete posts would cost about $500 each, Glienke said.
Goepfert informed the board that he has pipe which had been saved that could be set up and filled with cement to create parking posts.
The council directed Goepfert to explore this option, and present the plans and cost at a future meeting.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved the Good Neighbor Days list of events.
• approved closing First Street west of 10th Avenue Sunday, July 29 through Sunday, Aug. 5 for the Wright County Fair.
• heard a presentation by Leonard Wozniak, who is running for District 5 Wright County commissioner.
• heard from Evelyn Fowler that the Girl Scouts organization is celebrating 100 years as an organization this year, and is planning an event in October in order to improve water quality.
Local Girl Scouts will be assisting residents with bagging leaves, and leaving door hangers to inform them of the problems phosphorous causes in lakes and streams.
The Girl Scouts will also be labeling stormwater drains throughout the city.