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Street, sidewalk and other improvements being considered by Ottertail City Council

With roadside landscaping plans underway, a new fishing pier project in the works, and plenty of ideas for improvements in the downtown area, the Ottertail Planning Committee has been hard at work over the past year.

At a Nov. 21 meeting, the Ottertail City Council took some time to review the various efforts the committee has been working on. Discussion was also held regarding the role of the planning committee, and how it can best be utilized in the city’s future.

One of the first topics of discussion was the addition of “welcome to Ottertail” signs.

“The planning committee received an outline of what could happen with signs in Ottertail. We looked at three or four different options,” explained Councilmember Mike Windey, who also serves on the planning committee.

Windey said one of the areas the committee is looking at for a sign is the corner of Highways 78 and 108.

“We are moving right ahead and we’ll have more information for the council in December. It’s a good group that’s working on all of this,” he said.

Other plans include adding some park benches along the recently constructed bike path. The Pelican Bay handicapped accessible fishing pier project is also coming along smoothly. The DNR and MnDOT have approved the project. All of the funds needed for the pier have already been donated.

A preliminary budget has been put together to patch up the blacktop in the downtown area. The plan is to patch up the road on the north and south sides of Highway 108 in front of the Ottertail Home Center and the Ottertail Creamery.

It was mentioned how it would be nice to construct a sidewalk up to the bike trail from where the sidewalk currently ends at the Ottertail Home Center. The addition of a sidewalk on the west side of the Creamery building was also brought up.

Preliminary costs for these projects were shared at the council meeting. It will cost an estimated $44,700 for the bituminous material. The materials for both the bituminous and the sidewalk are estimated to cost a total of $65,000-$70,000.

Diagonal parking could then be established along the entire block on both the north and south sides of Highway 108. Diagonal parking would also be set up in front of the Ottertail Community Center.

Street light enhancements in the downtown and other areas are also being considered for the city. Some concept drawings will be developed in the near future and reviewed at an upcoming planning committee meeting.

New council member sought

The Ottertail City Council voted to pass a resolution officially declaring a vacancy on the council. The vacancy was created when longtime councilman Terry Wagenman submitted his resignation in October. Wagenman’s term expires on Dec. 31.

Ottertail City Clerk/Treasurer Elaine Hanson reported that several people have already expressed an interest in filling the rest of Wagenman’s term. Interested parties will be sent a set of interview questions. The council will then review the candidates’ answers at the next regular council meeting and take a vote to decidewho will fill the vacancy.

Other business

A motion was approved to grant a conditional use permit to Ruth Bosse, who is planning to open her home to care for elderly and developmentally disabled adults.

“It’s my passion and I’d like to take the opportunity to get back into this again,” said Bosse, citing her 12 years of previous experience.

Bosse told the council she will have a maximum of four people in her home in Ottertail. She has already sent in the required licensing information.

Heidi Kratzke, For the Focus