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City to consider permits, alley closure

NEW ULM — The New Ulm City Council will review two conditional use permits (CUP) requests for businesses in the airport industrial park.

A CUP for K & R Towing would allow the operation of a towing business at 9 Berens Boulevard. This property is zoned as a general business district. Another CUP is for a hoist sales and installation business at 11 Berens Blvd. The permits were previously recommended by the New Ulm Planning Commission. In connection with the permits, the council will review a simple lot division on 9 Berens Blvd. This lot division was also recommended by the planning commission.

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The council will consider a one-year extension to DLC Manufacturing & Fabricating, Inc., for the compliance dates for a stated job and wage goals associate with a loan and participation in the tax abatement program.

Recently, DLC moved into a new building at 24 Somsen St. in the airport industrial park and received financial assistance from the city’s revolving loan fund and tax abatement. The two programs required DLC to meet job creation goals. For the tax abatement, DLC needs to retain six full-time positions and provide two new full-time equivalent positions with a minimum hourly rate of $14.48 per hour. The compliance date is Jan. 10, 2022.

The revolving loan required the retention of seven full-time positions and providing one new full-time position with a minimum hourly rate of $16.50 per hour, by April 24.

DLC submitted a letter to the city requesting the extension. DLC recently lost an employee and the business is trying to better position the company for growth post-COVID. One additional hire is now needed to meet the job creation goals, and the pending compliance date is before the end of the month.

If the council approves the extension, the new compliance date will be on April 24, 2022. The tax abatement extension would be Jan. 10, 2023.

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An easement agreement for Boundary Street will be considered. The council will decide whether to approve the North Ridge Public Improvements Agreement with HADC Ridgeway for a temporary slope easement and permanent highway easement and authorize the city engineer to execute the agreement on behalf of the city.

Brown County is leading the project design and management for the improvement project on Highway 13 and North Highland Avenue (Boundary Street) from Highway 29 to north of the KC Road. The proposed project includes roadway improvements, sidewalk and trail installation, street lighting, storm sewer improvements and restoration.

As part of this project, the county is looking to acquire a permanent highway easement for a portion of 23rd North Street to realign that intersection with Highway 13 at a right angle to provide safer sightlines. Also included are temporary construction sloping easements along the HADC Ridgeway property to allow for restoration grading to match into existing ground elevations.

As New Ulm is participating in this project, it is listed as a signatory in the agreement. The city has no financial obligations within this agreement. The 2021 MSAS improvement project was included within the 2021 CIP and Engineer’s Report that was adopted by the New Ulm City Council on Dec. 1, 2020.

The council will consider authorizing participation in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities Program. This is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve sustainability and quality-of-life goals.

This is a free, continuous improvement program, managed by a public-private partnership. It is based upon a selection of 29 optional best practices. Each best practice can be implemented, as decided by city elected officials, staff and community members. These voluntary actions are tailored to all Minnesota cities, focus on cost savings and energy use reduction, and encourage civic innovation.

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At the April 1 New Ulm Safety Commission meeting, River Bend Education District Executive Director Doug Hazen requested to periodically close the south end of the alley that separates the River Bend facility and parking lot with a gate. This request was for safety purposes with vehicles traveling in the alley and students and staff moving in the alley between the parking lot and facility.

City staff recommended an alternative suggestion of a speed limit and school zone signage to be installed on each end of the alley. The alley crosswalks would be re-striped and periodic closure of the ally with barricades instead of a gate would happen.

The council will be presented with both the gate and barricade options as well as an alternative option.

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The landscaping bid for Herman Heights Park will be awarded. Seven bids were received for the project. Leading Edge Landscapes had the low bid at $19,085. The landscaping plan includes a shade for park visitors, species diversification, park beautification, low maintenance species, deciduous and coniferous varieties. All work will be completed by Oct. 31.

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