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Items related to the running of Northfield

City Hall Insider

Al RoderEver wonder what happens at City Hall each week? Here's the scoop. City Administrator Al Roder (left) has agreed to share the memo he sends to city officials each Friday. There's a LOT here, from police activity statistics to street closings and budget meetings.

Just click here to read the pdf version of the report. You need Acrobat Reader to read the file.


Finally -- a primary

Right up until 4:55 p.m. Tuesday it seemed as though Northfield voters would skip local primaries and go straight to the November election to fill three open School Board and three open City Council seats.

And then Terry Gersemehl walked into City Hall and became the third candidate running for the at-large seat.

And that meant a primary for that one race. Two other City Council races will be contested in November, while all three School Board incumbents are running completely unopposed.  

City Council incumbent James Pokorney will face a challenge by James Herreid in the first ward. In the Fourth Ward, Jon Denison and Victor Summa will run for the seat Galen Malecha gave up to make a run for Rice County Commissioner. In the at-large race, Dixon Bond didn't file for re-election, but Norman Butler and Noah Cashman did. That leaves two people who have filed as of mid-afternoon Friday. Norm Butler, 1001 Division St., has filed in the at-large race. James Herreid, 13 Riverside Commons East, has filed in the first ward race.


This week at City Hall

It's another short week at City Hall, with lots of paperwork but no big issues or controversy. You can check for agendas by clicking on the individual meetings or go to the City of Northfield for a complete calendar of events.

Monday
City Council, 7 p.m.

Tuesday
Charter Commission, 4 p.m.
Environmental Quality Commission, 7 p.m.
Library Board, 7 p.m., Northfield Public Library.

Thursday
Historic Preservation Commission, 4:30 p.m.


City Hall insider

Al RoderEver wonder what happens at City Hall each week? Well, now you'll know. City Administrator Al Roder (left) has agreed to share the memo he sends to city officials each Friday. There's a LOT here, from police activity statistics to street closings and budget meetings.

City activities for the week of July 9 – July 15, 2006:


Candidates aren't rushing to file

Whether it's procrastination, indecision, indifference or just plain lack of interest, candidates haven't been beating down the doors to file for this fall's local elections.

With only two business days left before filings close Tuesday, July 18, there are few candidates on record for the three City Council and three School Board seats up for grabs.

Read the rest of the entry for the details...


Mill Towns Trail plans becoming reality

Mill Towns TrailOK, this isn’t officially a news story, but Peggy Prowe does such a readable job of recording the minutes of the Mill Towns Trail board meetings that we decided to share them as is.

And there’s a lot going on. In fact, we also just received word from Tim Madigan (Faribault City Administrator) that the City of Faribault will host a ribbon-cutting for the opening of the White Sands trail head facility at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 29. This facility connects the Mill Towns and Sakatah trails.

We’ll have more on the ribbon-cutting later, but here are Peggy’s notes on all that’s happening with the trail and all the opportunities for people to help.

Read the rest of the entry for Peggy's notes...


A bridge to where?

Northfield City Council members have been talking a lot about pedestrian access, and the Park and Recreation Advisory Board is working on plans for bike trails and other non-motorized access improvements throughout the city.

That’s apparently why councilors balked Monday at spending what could run as much as $175,000 to replace an old, worn wooden pedestrian bridge connecting the Viking Terrace neighborhood with, well, mostly with the Dairy Queen along Highway 3, north of downtown.

City Engineer Heidi Hamilton said it would take about $20,000 to draw up plans for a new bridge, and ballparked the total cost of a replacement at $175,000. The aging timber bridge once carried vehicles over the ravine cradling the city’s main railroad track, but now is open only to walkers and cyclists. She said the other option is to close the bridge and not replace it, moving pedestrian traffic about 300 feet to the south to a grade level crossing with flashing signals along Fremont Avenue.


City OKs Northfield Hospital Clinic

Editor's note: This story has been updated. Schroeder-Leverington had filed suit Tuesday to challenge the awarding of the contract, but dropped the challenge.

The City Council on Monday agreed to hire RJM Construction of Plymouth to build a new clinic at Northfield Hospital for $4,415,700, with work expected to start this month and wrap up in 2007.

That timeline almost faced a delay.

An attorney for Schroeder-Leverington of Bloomington confirmed that the firm filed suit in Rice County District Court to block the contract, but quickly withdrew the action because it wasn't cost effecive. Attorney Einar Hansen told the council that Schroeder-Leverington objected to the city's decision to reject its lower bid of $4,378,000 because the firm didn't meet the experience qualifications set out in the bid documents.

More inside...


Couple to move house - from Bloomington to Northfield

house on wheelsPeople move from one house to another all the time. And it’s not unusual for a family to move from a split-level to a rambler. But David and Susan Slettton are putting a twist on the usual story by moving a split-level house from up near the Mall of America in Bloomington to Northfield, putting it on a new foundation that will turn it into a rambler.

At least that’s the plan the City Council approved Monday night. The new site is 1901 Lincoln Street (click for map), just off Jefferson Road. The Slettons, who are from Farmington, said after the meeting that they don't plan to live in the house. It's just their most ambitious project so far in the process made famous on cable television home networks as "flipping." The Slettens buy homes, rehab them and then sell them at a profit. He is an experienced drywall contractor, and she works with him on their rehab projects.


Bond wants out, Malecha considers county race

Most politicians would be thrilled to run unopposed -- and few would openly solicit competition. But at-large Northfield City Councilor Dixon Bond announced at the end of Monday's council meeting that he's encouraging people to run for his seat so he can retire.

"It's my intent not to run," said Bond, who now is 70 and has served six years on the council. "I'd like to see some new blood on the council." Bond said he would keep open the option of running if he felt he was needed, but that he wanted to announce his intention early so people would have enough time to file before next week's deadline. (Bond is shown here in a Griff Wigley photo from our files from last year.)

Galen Malecha, who hasn't filed for re-election representing the council's Fourth Ward, said he'll decide this week whether to shoot for another term or aim higher by filing for a seat on the Rice County Board of Commissioners. The county position is open because Commissioner Jessica Peterson is running for the Minnesota State Senate.


This week at City Hall

City officials took last week off, but they'll be making up for lost time with busy agendas tackling lots of issues. You can check out all the meetings, agendas and other information at the City Hall website and through the links below.

The City Council will hold public hearing on the approval of $33 million in bonds for Northfield Hospital. The total includes $10 million to build a clinic on its Northfield campus and another in Farmington, with the balance a refinancing of the 2001 bond issue for the new hospital. The bonds will be paid through hospital revenues and not the city's general budget, so there will be no tax increase. The council is expected to approve the bond issue and to award a contract for $4,415,700 to RJM Construction of Plymouth for a new clinic on the hospital campus.


Work starts on new pool

Click to view a small photo setOn a perfect day for swimming, dozens of Northfield residents stood around the new city pool at Memorial Park Thursday – or at least around the site where the new pool will be when it opens next summer.

Mayor Lee Lansing donned a red swimming outfit, complete with flippers, to celebrate the groundbreaking for the $2.85M pool project. Park Board and City Council members donned the traditional hard hats and picked up shovels, but they didn’t have to try and break the sun-hardened soil.

Project manager Jack Viebahn of Met-Con Companies of Faribault, the general contractor for the project, brought along a small bulldozer to do the heavy work. That left the officials to smile and pose with neighborhood kids who showed up for the event.

"It's one small scoop for man...a lot of little scoops for the children of Northfield," Park Board Chairman Richard Vanasek joked. Mayor Lansing called his red outfit a tribute to historic swimming apparel, a nod to the past as the city moves to the future.


Election Filings are Open

It's a holiday week, so there are no meetings on the City Hall schedule. There's a lot of action, however, as people decide whether to file for any of the open seats on the City Council. Filings opened yesterday and end July 18, so we don't have to wait long for an answer. The filing period is the same for the Northfield Public Schools, where three School Board seats also are open.

The three City Council positions open are those now held by Jim Pokorney in the first ward, Galen Malecha in the fourth ward and Dixon Bond, who serves at-large.

Here's the lowdown from the Northfield city website:

All positions serve a term of four years, 1/1/2007 - 12/31/2010. The filing period begins on Wednesday, July 5 at 8 a.m. and closes on Tuesday, July 18 at 5 p.m. Interested candidates must file an affidavit of candidacy with the city clerk at the Northfield City Hall, 801 Washington Street, Northfield. There is a $5 filing fee. Candidates must be qualified to vote, be at least 21 years of age on the date he or she would assume office, a resident of the City and of any ward he or she seeks to represent, or will become a resident therein at least 30 days before the election. If more than two people file for a position, a primary election will be held on Tuesday, September 12. The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 7. Contact Deb Little, City Clerk, for additional information.


Planners play tourist to get new perspective

Wednesday evening we made like tourists, complete with cameras, sandals, and shorts, and took a bus tour. The Planning Commission, along with city staff members Brian O’Connell and Dan Olson as tour guides, spent almost two hours driving all around Northfield.

The purpose of our adventure was to be better able to visualize our “sense of place” as a group by sharing the common experience. I thought that it was very worthwhile. Pictured here is our tour group, wearier but wiser for our efforts.

This journal of our journey represents my own thoughts. It does not necessarily represent the opinion of the entire Planning Commission and has nothing to do with my role as part-time executive director of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation. I have done my best to capture the comments made by the participants on the tour.


Downtown library draws support

Editor's note: Our thanks to League of Women Voters member Kiffi Summa, who was kind enough to send these notes, along with a challenge to people to get involved in an important civic discussion. You can do that by adding a comment here or joining the dialog on the ISSUES List.

The Northfield League of Women Voters (LWV) devoted its "4th Monday" public meeting in June to discuss expansion or replacement of the Northfield Carnegie Library.

The meeting was hosted by Lynne Young, library director, and Mark Gleason, chair of the library board. Lynne began with a short tour of the library, which clearly illustrated the many space problems the library currently faces. There is a lack of shelf space for developing/growing the collection, but an even more pressing need is for additional work space for all the behind-the-scenes work of processing materials, inter-library services, etc.


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