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Ottertail plans Main Street sidewalk, paving

Beautification efforts are underway in the city of Ottertail. Paving and the possibility of adding sidewalks on Main Street was discussed in depth at the Feb. 20 city council meeting.

Several Main Street business owners attended the meeting to share their views on the proposed project.

“The planning committee has come up with a suggestion of what we might do to improve the downtown area,” said Ottertail Mayor Myron Lueders. “We’re now looking for input from the businesses.”

Councilmember Brad Carr asked the attending business owners if there was a specific percentage they would be willing to pay, to help cover the cost of putting in the sidewalk.

Delmer Wiebe, of Wiebe’s Garage, said he is willing to pay a percentage of the cost for putting in a sidewalk, but felt it would be too expensive if business owners were assessed the entire amount.

Business owners also asked if there is a possibility that the city might obtain a grant in order to help cover the project’s expenses.

“I’m all for making the downtown area in Ottertail look great,” said Pete Thiel, representing Firestarters Ministry and the Ottertail Creamery. Thiel shared his idea to continue diagonal parking east, along the north side of Main Street, so downtown would have ample parking.

In the past, the city has asked the Minnesota Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit, but the request was not granted. If the city puts diagonal striping on Main Street, the speed limit will automatically be reduced to 30 miles per hour.

An additional reason given the sidewalk is to connect the city’s bike path to the City Park area.

The council will now look into determining specific cost estimates for the project, with plans for the project to be completed before next winter.

A timeline will be developed to help the businesses plan for construction.

“I think we’ve definitely got some direction now,” said Lueders.

Music event in June

Representatives from Hay Creek Entertainment updated the council on their plans for a music event to be held June 7, on city property near the water tower. Three acts are planned, along with a local DJ. Gates will open at 2 p.m. and the event should conclude by 10:30 p.m. This may become an annual event.

Fire Department update

Ottertail Fire Chief Stuart Fleischauer said the department now has 24 members. He mentioned five additional people are currently going through training. Last year, an average of eight members responded to each call. In 2013, the department responded to 72 rescue calls.