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Perham City Council sets position on street survey results

The Perham City Council discussed its official position on the wide streets survey results at Monday night's regular meeting.

The council had received a $5,000 grant from SHIP to commission a survey on how to make Perham's wide streets more pedestrian and bike friendly. A representative from the Community Growth Institute (CGI) out of Baxter, Minn., presented the results at a special council meeting held last month.

Council members Fred Lehmkuhl and Jim Johnson said that they received numerous questions and comments from citizens wondering what the council's position was on the issue. Some citizens thought that the city was taking action to narrow the streets, they said.

"For the record, I want to make sure this was only a recommendation," Johnson said. "I for one am not in favor of narrowing our streets. I'm in favor of continuing to explore ways to make our city a biking and pedestrian friendly community. Wide streets are our signature."

"Our community was built on our streets," Lehmkuhl added. "We've got nice lots and setbacks, and I don't see any reason that any of the council should look at changing any of the that."

"In the guy's defense, he probably wasn't wrong," Mayor Tim Meehl said, referring to Charles Marohn of CGI who presented the survey results. "But I don't think we'll plan on changing that development."

Council member Harriet Mattfeld said that she was disappointed with the results of the survey.

"It was not what we were expecting at all," she said.

Suds closing time

The council also discussed renewing the license for the 2 a.m. closing time for Suds Bar and Grill. The license expires before the end of the month.

Lehmkuhl asked Police Chief Jason Hoaby about recent fights and disturbances that seem to have been happening lately at Suds.

Hoaby said that he has been working with the owner of Suds to get the issue under control.

"They've been taking actions that we've recommended they take when there are fights," Hoaby said. "They have been pretty good working with us to fix that problem. But, you are adding another hour of drinking, which leads to bad decision making."

"I know for a fact that it doesn't improve the situation moving it from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.," Johnson added.

Hoaby recommended that the council not revoke the 2 a.m. closing time before discussing the issue with the owner of Suds.

The council discussed offenses that would be grounds for revoking the 2 a.m. closing time, such as over-serving customers or serving alcohol past 2 a.m. If this were the case, Hoaby said, then the council would be able to take action.

A resolution was passed to approve the 2 a.m. license, contingent on Hoaby talking with ownership about the recent fights, and contingent on all fees and legal requirements being met as required by the city and State of Minnesota's Liquor Control Board.

A committee of the whole meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 27 at 5:15 p.m. The next regular city council meeting will be held on Monday, August 8 at 5:15 p.m.