By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake City Council approved a location for the city welcome sign at its meeting Tuesday.
“The 6th Avenue corner, north of the library, is the best option, because other locations are cost-prohibitive,” City Administrator Jennifer Nash commented.
Other locations considered include on the north edge of Highway 12, east of the Country Store; and where the old city sign is currently located.
The sign can’t be placed on the location north of Highway 12 because there are an abundance of utility lines and drainage concerns.
The site where the current sign is located would require a lease agreement, which could cost between $2,000 and $5,000 per year, with BNSF Railway.
Xcel Energy has agreed to move its pole for $1,200 because it is in the way of the new sign location, and was originally placed incorrectly on the lot.
The 14-feet-by-5-feet sign will be lit with a spotlight, and the council plans to discuss lighting options at a future meeting.
“The sign manufacturer has indicated that the sign could be ready for installation in two to three weeks,” Nash noted.
The council also approved a city bench/table donation program. Residents may donate a bench or picnic table to be placed at city parks in memory of a person who has died.
“Staff was approached by a resident who may be interested in donating a park bench to the city in honor of a friend who died last year,” Nash commented.
The benches are expected to cost about $400, and picnic tables about $600 for residents, which includes a plaque and city staff installation.
“The program is well-used by residents in other cities, such as Buffalo,” Nash said.
City staff organized a plan for the bench donation program based on similar programs in other cities.
“I think this is a great program, and a good way to get nice seating around the city,” Mayor Pete Zimmerman stated. “Plus, the benches will have a personal touch from our residents.”
The council will have the ability to approve bench and table locations prior to placement, although donors may request a location.
Odd and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved a job description for an intern program at city hall.
City budget included $15,000 for an administrative assistant, and the city received a $3,500 grant for an internship program.
• certified assessments for past-due utility bills at the mobile home park in the amount of $59,686.
• approved the 2015 Good Neighbor Days schedule.
• approved hire of a new part-time liquor store employee, Magalie Diedrich.