Mabel City Council discusses downtown buildings, tax forfeited property
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 3:14 PM
City Clerk Karen Larson updated the Mabel City Council on the status of the asbestos inspections being done on the former shoe store and former quilt store on Main Street. The council also discussed a tax-forfeited property along Highway 44 and discussed whether or not it would be beneficial to acquire the property for the city.
First, however, Larson reported that the asbestos inspection has been completed on the shoe store and Quilters Heaven buildings, located at 121, 125 and 113 Main Street. Inspectors found a total of eight positive asbestos samples in the Quilters Heaven lots and five positive samples in the former shoes store.
“I guess, now, just to maybe talk about what your intentions are — do we leave it, do we look at doing the abatement? It is going to cost money with the abatement and with the demolition,” Larson said of the vacant city-owned buildings.
Larson then mentioned the Mabel EDA (Economic Development Authority) is going to look into a low interest loan that would, if awarded, cover the expenses of the abatement and the demolition.
The cost for the demolition and abatement is at this time unknown, and the EDA will be having another inspection done to get a ballpark price on the abatement and demolition.
While the council hoped to have the buildings down by Steam Engine Days, the group mutually decided that was an unrealistic goal at this time.
“We’ll still keep going on it, we’ll just go a tad bit slower,” said council member Terry Torkelson.
The council discussed a tax-forfeited property along Highway 44 and the possibility of acquiring the property for the city.
“Mabel now has the opportunity to obtain this property,” Larson explained. “It depends on what we (the city) does with this. If we use if for a public purpose, the price is free but you have to pay the deed cost of $250. If you buy the parcel, the city could do whatever we want with the parcel — and the deed would be $25 plus the purchase price.”
Public Works Director Bob Mierau said the parcel, which is 45’x120’, is very limited to use for any business or other building. “All the main power lines come into town right there…we thought it would be nice to make it a through alley there rather than a dead end…it would just be a nice access.
Larson said if the council made the property a through alleyway that it would constitute public use — so the cost to the city would only be the $250.
The council passed a resolution to seek to acquire the property — as Fillmore County wanted to know by July 18 what the city intended to do.
If the city was not interested, the property would have gone to public auction on July 22.
Bus SWIM Center
Larson reported that a bus is taking children and youth, age eight and up, from Mabel to the Spring Grove SWIM Center each Friday. The bus picks up the youth free of charge at Steam Engine Park at 12:45 p.m. and returns at 4:15 p.m.
This year, POET Biorefining of Preston is donating the cost of the bus and gas. Larson asked the council if the city of Mabel would be interested in paying for the service next year if it is a success.
The first time the bus picked up the youth was on June 22 — in which 14 participated. The bus will continue though Aug.1. The youth only need to pay for admission to the pool.
“I think it is a good thing for the kids. I think it has been well received,” Larson told the council. “It is just something to keep in mind.”
The council appeared to be optimistic about the new option for area youth in the summer. However, no action was taken regarding funding the program next year.
The council set a public hearing for Thursday, July 24, at 5 p.m. for a variance request. The request is from the owners of 313 East Prairie for a deck they want to build. Mireau said the proposed deck comes out further than what the setback is supposed to be.
Steam Engine Grounds canopy slab
Mireau reported to the council that a concrete slab for a canopy at Steam Engine Park needs repair.
“It’s from all the flooding,” Mireau said. “What’s happened is that it’s basically sitting down in a hole…the legs of the canopy really aren’t that stable.”
The plan to correct the problem is to pour a new slab, refasten the legs to make the structure sturdier. An estimate for the project came in at $4,675.
Council member Laura St. Mary suggested asking the Mabel Lions or Mabel Legion if they would like to be involved in donating to the project. Either that, or the project would come out of the city’s ‘parks’ budget.
The council voted to go ahead and fix the canopy along with appealing to the Legion and Lions to see if they would like to donate toward the repair.
Extra water meters
The council moved closer this month to offering residents a second water meter for use in watering their yard during the summertime.
The extra water meter would allow residents the use of city water for watering purposes without paying for sewer charges. Both the water and sewer charges are included on the basic meter on each home.
The council voted to set a one-time initial rental fee of $225 for cost of the extra meter and installation and a water rate of $3.95 per 1,000 gallons of water. Those interested in installing the extra meter can contact city hall.
Public Works Report
Mireau asked for approval to send out bid packets for the upcoming main street lighting project. The bid opening is planned to take place during the council’s meeting next month. The council approved the request.
Mireau reported that work will begin to repair dugouts at the city’s baseball field after summer rec is over. “We’ll get those built and get the fence completed and hope everything goes well and gets done.”
The project is to be completed by John Westby and Steve Roy through a grant from the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. Mireau said the project will be completed before Steam Engine Days.
The council opened three bids for the purchase of the unused city cop car — a 2004 Chevy Impala with 165,500 miles. The council sold the car to the high bidder, Steve Michael, who placed a bid of $1,260.
The council approved two measures for the fire department. The first was a standard form regarding funding for the department. The second was a requested $50 increase in pension benefits for firefighters from $600 to $650 per year. Both were approved.
A temporary liquor application was approved for the Hesper-Mabel Historical Society — which will be used during Steam Engine Days celebration in September.