It has been a very interesting week hearing the reactions to a story on the front page of the Faribault County Register last week.
You know, the one about the three new roundabouts (or mini-traffic circles).
Several people have expressed shock the city would even consider putting in three more of the gosh-darned things.
It was bad enough the State of Minnesota put three in along Highway 169, they say. Now the city wants three more in the downtown area.
Well, actually it isn't the city, it is the county. The county is in charge of Main Street, because it is a county/state-aid road.
And, truthfully, the county doesn't have plans for putting in any roundabouts or traffic circles on Main Street either.
If those readers would have continued on to the very end of the story, they would have seen that the story was our annual attempt at April Fools Day humor.
Only, this year there was a twist. Most of the story was true.
There really are several groups studying how the two blocks of Main Street, scheduled to be reconstructed next summer, should be done.
And, the story relates a visit from walkability expert Dan Burden in July 2010. He was here then, and he did propose three mini-traffic circles.
The April Fools part of the story is that the plans for the downtown area actually include the traffic circles.
They don't. In fact, the plans for the reconstruction have not even been drawn up yet.
On Wednesday, April 16, two groups are going to meet together to discuss what the vision for the reconstruction of the two blocks of Main Street is.
Will it be simply paved streets and concrete sidewalks?
Or will there be greenspace shrubs, trees and flowers?
Will there be new streetlights? Will they match the ones now found the reconstructed Highway 169?
Could the plans involve bump outs at the intersections, paver block crosswalks or sidewalks?
No one actually knows for sure. Yet.
Will there actually be Sprout statues located in the mini-traffic circles as the story states? Probably not.
But, would that be a horrible thing to have?
We will let the powers that be decide just how the reconstruction plans will eventually turn out.
However, we just can't resist putting in our two cents worth one more time. So here it is.
No matter what the eventual downtown plan is, we sincerely hope it will be something that makes Main Street much more 'attractive,' and 'attracts' more shoppers, visitors and businesses to our downtown business district.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something special, and not simply settle for a bunch of black asphalt streets and concrete sidewalks.
Sure, it may be more efficient for snow removal. But, it doesn't do a lot for the overall look of the town itself.
This April Fools Day story, if it did nothing else, at least got several folks talking about the upcoming 2015 summer project.
And, talking about more than just the number of parking spots which could be lost.
We received a few comments from our readers indicating they really enjoyed finding the April Fools Day story.
Some others asked us what our April Fools Day story was. They had not spotted one.
In other words, they believe the mini-roundabouts are a viable possibility. Maybe they should be.
Coming up with an idea for an April Fools story is never really easy. It has to be fake, but still believable enough to sound reasonable.
We have had several stories in the past few months that seemed likely candidates to be April Fools Day spoofs.
For instance, the "Bridge to Nowhere" story, or the announcement complete with artist's rendering of plans to turn the Green Giant orange for a day.
How about that story of the United South Central School Board buying up thousands of seats out of the soon to be demolished Metrodome and using them in their new stadium?
They were absolutely perfect April Fools Days stories. Better than we could come up with.
There were only two problems with them.
They were all true. And they didn't run in the newspaper on April 1st.
Thanks for reading us.