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Wells residents don’t want sidewalks

By Staff | Mar 4, 2018

No sidewalks.

That was what the people of Wells wanted their City Council to hear last Monday evening.

From previous council meetings, Wells citizen Joel Thisius made mention that he felt sidewalks were not needed in the new Sixth Street project and informed the council he would get a petition started to show the community was also in the same line of thinking.

And Thisius did just that. Not only did the resident get four pages full of signatures from fellow Sixth Street neighbors, he also brought some folks to the meeting.

Some of the concerns brought up from the residents regarding sidewalks were the cost of sidewalks, the liability of citizens who would use the sidewalks, as well as the ability for a good number of elderly residents to be able to maintain and clear their sidewalks in the winter.

Thisius made sure, however, that his conversations with his neighbors were not favored one way or the other. Though he was against the sidewalks, he made sure there was “no selling” his side of things.

“Once I was able to reach the neighbors, they signed the petition, no sales talk,” he said to the council.

Another point of discussion was the two-dollar “tax” added on to Wells residents’ utility bills to help with the upkeep of current sidewalk structures.

“There is already a sidewalk problem in this town, that’s what the two bucks are for,” said one resident. “We would also have the added expense of snow removal since most of us can’t remove snow on our own. We don’t even know what this would all cost and what our financing options would be.”

The council did discuss with the residents present at the meeting that the dollar amount they received on their property tax information was their portion, or 30 percent, of the restoration project. The rest of the cost would be covered by the city.

“That percent, divided out by the entire footage, includes sewer, water, and any driveway replacement we would do,” said Crystal Dulas, a member of the Wells City Council.

“The city pays the rest. Now just because we don’t put sidewalks in doesn’t mean trees won’t be removed,” Dulas added. “Those can be replaced, too, if you’d like.”

The council is still hoping to put the project out for bid by March and approve a bid by April. A Bolton and Menk representative stated the project could begin as early as May with a completion date currently set for Oct. 31.

The Wells City Council also:

Heard from Steve Nowak, a resident of Wells who has requested the city vacate the Sixth Street alley way for utility easement access only,

Approved a lawful gambling exempt permit for bingo and raffle at St. Casimir’s Catholic Church,

Examined and approved a Minnesota Investment Fund, which is a state-funded revolving loan fund?request for a one time exception.

The next regular Wells City Council meeting will be held Monday, March 12 at 5 p.m. in the Wells Community Center.