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Ottertail takes action to promote active living, safer commutes

In an effort to promote active living and a safer commute for all people using the city's streets, Ottertail has officially adopted a Complete Streets Policy.

The policy was adopted by the Ottertail City Council at a meeting Jan. 17.

Members of the council were first informed of the policy during a PowerPoint presentation given by Patrick Hollister, an active living planner with PartnerSHIP 4 Health, at an October meeting.

Hollister said that right now streets are primarily designed for cars.

"Over the last 10 years, there's been an increasing consciousness of the need to promote other means of travel," he explained.

Basically, the Complete Streets Policy adopted by the city says that for future street projects, the city will work to accommodate other modes of travel, such as bicycles, which are increasingly popular.

"We feel that our state, county, and city roads should reflect that mobile shift," said Hollister.

Ottertail Maintenance Supervisor Lee Sherman asked Hollister what the city can do when Highway 78 is overlaid next year. He wanted to know if there was a way to encourage the state to make the road friendlier for other modes of transportation.

Hollister said it may be too late at this point to significantly impact the Minnesota Department of Transportation's plans for Highway 78. However, he said the city may be able to influence future road projects. If MnDOT is approached three or four years ahead of time, there is a much better chance that requested modifications could be added into the road construction plans.

Bike shop to open on Bayview Road

The council approved a motion to allow a change from one light commercial use to another light commercial use on a Bayview Road residential property.

The property was recently purchased by Gordon Bradbury and his wife Lorna.

Bradbury informed the council that he would like to open a bicycle repair shop in the 30 x 40 foot building that is currently on his property.

"My hours would be by chance or appointment only. I don't want it to cut into my fishing time too much," he mentioned.

He said he doesn't anticipate the shop drawing a lot of traffic to the residential area.

The property is already zoned commercial/residential and Bradbury will only be changing the type of business operating out of the property.

Update on bike path payments

The city has not yet held a meeting with representatives from Interstate Engineering and Central Specialties regarding disputed costs for the Ottertail bike path project.

Ottertail City Clerk/Treasurer Elaine Hanson said the plan is to try and schedule the meeting for either Jan. 28 or 29.

The purpose of the meeting will be to negotiate and determine the city's financial obligation to each entity.

"I think that anything above the original estimated amount needs to be explained to us," said Sherman.

A formal decision on the amount to be paid will not be made at the meeting. Due to the importance of the project, the council decided it would be best to include the full council and advertise it as a special meeting.