By Dianne Sudbrock
The New Melle Board of Aldermen met Thursday, January 14, 2021 at City Hall. Mayor Richard West and Aldermen Nik Bradley, Gary Schneider and Janet Karrenbrock were present, as well as the City Clerk, City Attorney and City Engineer – Kurt Daniels. Alderman Don Hendrich was absent.
No one spoke in Open Forum.
In the Engineering Report, Daniels discussed proposed improvements to Peter Street. One of the city’s overall goals is to improve storm drainage along city streets. That requires working from the lowest elevations up to higher elevations. Storm water improvements were made along the lower end of Schutzen Street in 2019/2020. Improvements to Peter Street would tie into the new storm sewer at Schutzen and fix existing drainage issues. One of the decisions before the board is whether to widen Peter Street in the process, which would require obtaining additional right-of-way from property owners, or try to work within the existing narrow right-of-way. One possible solution would be to make the street one way between Schutzen and Mill Street. In a meeting with residents in December, there were complaints about traffic cutting through Peter Street at high rates of to avoid the stop signs at Routes D & Z, and at D & F. Making the street one-way (going east) would help alleviate that traffic issue. No decision was made. Cochran will do further evaluation in relation to possible future development in the area.
In New Business, Thad Harker, representing Primus Dental (a construction company in Cedar Rapids, IA that specializes in building dental offices) said he had a client who would like to build an orthodontics office in New Melle, on property that the city owns at the intersection of Hwy. D and Z. Harker explained that his client, who has a successful orthodontics practice in St. Louis County, lives in the area and wants to practice in a small town and give back to the community. Harker said, if the city decided to sell the property, they would most likely plan to build two professional buildings, one to house the dental practice, and a second building that would be leased for other retail or office space. The minimum acreage needed would be 1.1 acres. No decision was made. Mayor West said the board would discuss the idea to see if this is how they would want to develop that property.
Other items discussed:
• City of New Melle vs. Sullivan Lawsuit: Courts are reopening and Attorney Martin hoped to have a court date by the February meeting.
• Alderwoman Karrenbrock will notify board members at New Melle Sports and Rec that the City of New Melle will enter into a job-sharing partnership for one employee to be hired by NMSR who will do lawn mowing and other routine property maintenance for both organizations.
• The former City Clerk, Savannah Burton, has been coming back as needed to provide training to the new City Clerk, and she will be reimbursed for her time at a rate of $18 per hour.
The next Board of Aldermen meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 11.