Editor-in-Chief, The Caledonia Argus
Lost and Found: An alley northwest of Spring Grove. Spring Grove City Council was told of an alley that needed to be re-surveyed and appropriated.
At her regular October 19 meeting, city clerk-administrator Julie Amundson told council the city has an easement on the property of current public works manager Jon Sylling, which has been declared a lane. by former director of public works Paul Morken, who signed an affidavit. However, the driveway is currently not marked on city maps. The alley crosses 2nd Ave. NW, about 160 feet long, and provides access to a private business and Farmers Win Co-Op.
The driveway was surveyed in 2013 and the pins are still in place, said business owner Russ Gerard. The easement ends on the east side of her property, where she meets Farmers Win Co-Op. The causeway has been there since 1965, he added.
The city is expected to take full ownership of the lane, including the maintenance, upkeep and potential relocation of utility poles, once the investigation has again determined where the actual easement is. Currently the city has only plowed the alley, but the road surface is cracked, pieces missing and in need of repair.
Amundson said WHKS will conduct the investigation and it is expected to cost less than $ 1,000. Council members took no action on the matter.
The board had a lengthy discussion with audience members, corner store manager Joe Kessler and Red’s IGA owner Pat Longmire. The subject was “What if the city closed the municipal liquor store and Red’s had the only liquor store available in town?” “
Currently, Red’s is only allowed to sell 3.2 liquor, because if a city has a municipal liquor store, the liquor license must go to that establishment, per state law. Spring Grove is only entitled to one liquor license due to its population.
Over the years, several conversations have taken place, including public hearings and a referendum article, about whether to close the corner store or keep it open. Each time, it has remained open.
Now with Kessler at the wheel, The Corner Store has steadily made money and even increased city coffers to buy a side-by-side and new life jaws for the fire department, new gear from park for Trollskogen Park, among others. transfers in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Mayor Scott Solberg said he sees both sides of the issue. While The Corner Store might not make a lot of money, it does make it steadily every year. The city didn’t have to write The Corner a check every year, or use taxpayer money to transfer money to The Corner Store, he said.
Board members agreed that Kessler was doing a good job with running the Corner Store. The Lions Club also organizes its charity games there. Kessler added the idea that the city could close the bar part and renovate The Corner Store into a larger liquor store, which was an idea in 2016. If it were closed, the Fest Building would not have the bar service, and it should be done. by a caterer holding a liquor license.
On the other hand, Longmire said that if Red’s were able to get the liquor license and offer a wider range of liquor, they would be able to build a liquor store addition. This would deter people from going out of town to find a greater selection of liquor, Sunday sales and other purchases outside of town.
Although Red’s is the only grocery store in town, Longmire said the grocery business has become complicated and difficult to capitalize on over the past 45 years.
“Between my son and I, we probably put in over 60 hours a week,” he said. “Money comes out as quickly as it comes in. “
A big addition for a liquor store, more storage, a gain of 30 feet for pallet racks and built by local contractors, would give Red’s IGA an increase of about 10% in store sales, a-t -he declares. The store recently replaced inefficient 21-year-old coolers at a cost of about $ 80,000.
“I believe the grocery store is more important than the liquor store,” he said. “We could do so much more for the store. It would be a better option for Spring Grove than what we have now.
The board took no action on the matter, but liquor store liaison officers Travis Torgerson and Rohland agreed to sit down with listeners and review the numbers. This information is common knowledge.
Along with the back alley conversation and liquor store reflections, the board approved an update to Chapter 1106, clarifying that a detached garage is an accessory building.
The board approved an increase in electricity rates effective January 1, 2022. The rate is expected to be less than $ 3 for the increase.
The council discussed adding a full-time caretaker position to look after the Fest building, log cabin, town hall, overnight parking and concession stand and possibly also helping out at the corner store. The council asked Amundson to speak to the current warden about the hours available.
The next Spring Grove City Council meeting will be on November 16 at 6 p.m. at Spring Grove Communications Room 100.