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Delano City Council approves labyrinth proposal
Aug. 22, 2016

BY GABE LICHT
Editor

DELANO, MN – After tabling the matter twice with only four council members present, the full Delano City Council took just one minute and 20 seconds Tuesday to approve a proposal for a labyrinth across from Peppermint Twist.

Following a brief introduction of the topic by City Administrator Phil Kern, Councilwoman Holly Schrupp, who had been unable to attend the previous two meetings, made the motion; Councilwoman Betsy Stolfa seconded it; and Mayor Dale Graunke also voted to approve it, while councilmen Jason Franzen and Jack Russek maintained their opposition with “no” votes.

Following approval, more than 30 people in attendance applauded the decision.

“Thank you for your patience,” Graunke said.

Months in the making
After more than a year of planning, the Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture first proposed the labyrinth, which will be funded by private donations and grant funds, in April. Per the city’s public art application process, the proposal was reviewed and approved by the Delano Park and Recreation Commission and Delano Area Historical Society.

Following that review process, the Delano City Council first considered the request July 19.

The proposal called for the city to construct a berm and level land east of Highway 12, which Graunke said was the city’s plan regardless of the type of art installed there.

At the meeting, Councilman Jason Franzen raised concerns about labyrinths’ ties to several religions, and Councilman Jack Russek also hesitated to support the proposal.

City Attorney Mark Johnson was asked to research the constitutionality of a labyrinth on public property, and the proposal was tabled until Aug. 2.

Prior to that meeting, Johnson wrote a memo stating he did not believe allowing a labyrinth on public land would violate the “Establishment Clause” of the United States Constitution’s First Amendment, which prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”

During the Aug. 2 meeting, Franzen raised concerns about parking along Highway 12.

Graunke said there was a driveway cut into Highway 12 with a designated parking area at that location. He also spoke against singling out the labyrinth, as the concept of that park is to establish an art walk.

Russek said he would rather see the space used as a picnic area.

With the council gridlocked at 2-2, Graunke asked for a motion to table the matter until the full council was present, a motion that passed unanimously.

Now that the labyrinth has been approved, installation is scheduled for the spring or summer of 2017. Prior to installation, material from the infrastructure improvement project will be used to build a level berm at the location, and grass will be planted. Volunteers will work with labyrinth designer Lisa Moriarty to install pavers to create the labyrinth.

Of the $8,800 project, $4,800 will be covered by a Central MN Arts Board grant, with the remaining $4,000 covered by private donations.

Odds and ends
In other business, the council:

• opted out of the requirement of Minnesota State Statute, Section 462.3593 as it relates to temporary family health care dwellings.

• approved a request from Wright Neighborhood LLC for a planned unit development amendment for Wright Neighborhood Third Addition to allow up to seven of the 21 homes built there to be two-story homes.

• approved $5,155 in repairs and entered into a maintenance agreement with ReNew Exteriors, of Blaine, for the metal roof of the Crow River Villa building

• approved a request from the Delano Lions Club for use of Kramer Park and Central Park for the Delano Lions Haunted Trail Oct. 27-31.

• approved an application from Kurt Coykendall and Margaret Meyer to allow them to build an outbuilding measuring 24 feet-by-36 feet to replace two smaller buildings that were built without permits, including one crossing a property line. A variance was required because the total square footage of the new building and existing garage would be 1,632. While that is less than the 1,774 combined square feet of existing buildings, it is still more than the 1,200 square feet maximum. Stolfa expressed interest in amending the ordinance to allow larger out buildings, especially on larger lots, while Russek suggested an ordinance change was not necessary because the requests could be processed on a case-by-case basis.

• denied a solicitor license application from David Kuntz, of All American Exteriors, following the results of a background check.

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