To the Editor:
After reading the Register’s question and answer coverage pertaining to the Winnebago City Council, I am troubled by false statements and misrepresentations being made by some candidates.
I am troubled by these comments because they appear to be deliberately provocative and divisive to the community. I am also troubled because some of the comments are directly pointed at myself, and seem to be attempting to score little political points at my expense, and at the expense of the people who worked hard to build the new grocery store.
It was stated that most businesses downtown own and maintain their own parking lots. This is a false statement as most, if not all, parking lots downtown are city owned and maintained.
In fact, it was because of the city’s ownership of the “Jack and Jill” (old grocery store) parking lot that we began to consider this option as part of the new grocery store development.
It was stated that the city violated public bidding requirements. This is a false statement as the grocery store project was not a public project.
It was stated that the city staff did not adequately research the maintenance and liability concerns regarding a parking lot. This is a false statement as I personally researched the liabilities related to expected traffic flow patterns, the fire department’s use of the vacated alley and discussed with MnDOT staff the state specifications for vehicle access on this block section.
Finally, it was asserted that I had the right and ability to agree to buy the parking lot. This is a false statement and misrepresentation as this legally cannot occur. All legal agreements are a result of the actions of the city council, based on a negotiated process led by staff.
The grocery store project looks great and Winnebago has yet another reason to be proud. The fact that people are deliberately misrepresenting the facts, process and intentions behind this project for short term political gain is damaging to the community and embarrassing for me to witness.
Nate Mathews, Former Winnebago Administrator