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Concerns with new housing proposal

Wells Council works on several big issues

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Feb 28, 2021

The proposed Cardel development west of the new United South Central School took up the majority of the meeting of the Wells City Council when they met on Monday, Feb. 22.

The council discussed options concerning the right-of-way for Seventh and Eighth streets or the option of a cart-way to access the proposed development from Sixth Street.

“In the past, the council has twice denied cart-ways in similar instances,” city administrator C.J. Holl, said. “The city wants streets with curb and gutter.”

Other items which were discussed, in addition to a dedicated right-of-way, included concerns about drainage and utilities.

“We are working on the final plat to bring to Planning and Zoning,” city attorney David Frundt explained. “It is why we are here seeking direction on some of these items.”

Holl echoed Frundt’s comments.

“Let’s come up with a solid plan,” Holl said. “Let’s get the utilities and everything figured out.”

Some of the difficulty in coming up with answers is because the proposed development lies just out of the city limits, so it is located on land zoned by the county.

The council did reach a consensus they would like at least one access road with the developers paying for it.

Another topic for discussion at the meeting was the rescinding of the resignation of Wells police officer Ryan Elasky.

Mayor David Braun read from a letter written by Elasky in which Elasky stated his realization that staying with the city is the best fit for him.

The council unanimously approved rescinding the resignation.

“I am not sure if we are going to have a going-away or a welcome-back party,” Holl joked.

Also on the agenda was the approval of the demolition of the screened building at the city-owned golf course.

“The building is in bad shape and falling apart,” Street Department foreman Mike Pyzick told the council. “It is not worth fixing. We would like to remove it and then we would have a cement slab left which we could use for picnic tables.”

The demolition was approved and then the council took up another matter concerning the golf course.

“I have been working since last fall trying to find a used machine to use on the greens at the golf course,” Pyzick said. “I thought I found one but was told it was not in good shape. Quality used machines are hard to come by because golf courses from down south come up here and purchase them.”

He did have a bid on a 2016 used Toro unit.

“It would cost $21,000,” Pyzick explained. “But it is in good shape and should last us many years.”

Holl explained there had been $12,500 budgeted for the machine.

“However, we have also been putting money into capital funds for equipment,” Holl explained. “We could use money out of those funds so that we do not touch the general fund and then replenish the capital funds next year. Otherwise, we can finance through Toro for two years and end up paying about $944 in interest.”

The council voted to approve the purchase using money from the capital funds.

There was also an informational update regarding the lights at the Thompson Park baseball field.

“The initial cost for pouring the concrete footings and getting the lights stood up is $35,000,” Pyzick said. “These are the eight lights which came from the Albert Lea football field. We have been working with businesses who will sponsor or donate part of the work needed to get the lights installed.”

Holl also informed the council no date had been set yet for reopening the Flame Theatre.

“We are thinking of having an event before the official reopening,” Holl commented. “We are talking about showing “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” which is the movie which was showing in 1959 when the theater burned down. Of course, we would have the fire trucks on standby.”

The last item considered by the council was an appointment to the Park Board.

Holl explained the city ordinance currently states three people are to be appointed to the board and there are only two people on the board at this time. He also reminded members others are welcome to come and express their opinion at Park Board meetings.

The council will work on making an appointment to the Park Board in the near future.