Thumbs Up/Down

Time marches on

THUMBS UP: Time has been standing still in New Ulm for quite a while, at least if you have been looking northward on Minnesota Street toward the Glockenspiel. The hands of the clock face looking toward downtown have been stuck at 11:53 for months. It told the correct time twice a day, but for the rest of the time it has been wrong.

On Friday, a crew opened up the clock face and fixed the problems within, so now the clock hands turn as they should. It’s about time.

Time for Corn Days

THUMBS UP: The Del Monte plant in Sleepy Eye has been showing its appreciation and community support for years with Corn Days. Each year the corn packing plant donates several tons of corn for a weekend celebration of one of the delights of summer — fresh corn on the cob, dripping with butter (donated by AMPI) and all you can eat.

It’s a tasty way to have a good time, and Sleepy Eye has added to the fun with a variety of activities and shows. Go get your corn on today in Sleepy Eye.

Time to look ahead

THUMBS DOWN: The Sleepy Eye City Council had a decision that the New Ulm City Council had a couple of years ago. It took a different position than New Ulm, and we think they might want to reconsider.

Like a lot of small towns, New Ulm and Sleepy Eye have an inventory of empty storefronts downtown. They once housed retail businesses that have closed and aren’t likely to be replaced. So what do you do with them?

In New Ulm, the former Retzlaff Bros., or Thrifty White building was empty and unused. The developer came to the city council with an idea to divide the street-level space, with business and office space on the street side, and a couple of apartments in back. Street-level apartments in downtown had never been done, and the concept went against the city zoning ordinance, but the council thought the idea made sense and would put an empty building to good use. The project was approved and so far has been a success, giving the building a dramatic makeover.

Faced with a similar proposal with the General Trading Co. building in Sleepy Eye, to open a small restaurant in the front of the building with an apartment in the back, the Sleepy Eye Council said no, concerned about setting a precedent that didn’t fit with what has always been done.

We think the city council should reconsider and look at what the downtown could be, not what it used to be.