The Fergus Falls City Council held a public hearing Monday for opinions on lowering the speed zone on West Alcott Avenue from Martin Street to the roundabout at Tower Road.

With no members of the general public offering comments on the proposed switch from a 45 mph speed limit to a 30, Councilman Anthony Hicks asked why the speed limit could not be dropped to 40 or 35 since the four-block stretch of road was on the outskirts of the city.

Councilman Brent Thompson said he did not see the need for a higher speed limit than 30 since traffic on the roundabout is restricted to 15 mph.

Fergus Falls Chief of Public Safety Kile Bergren said the city only had authorization to establish speed limits up to 30 mph.

The council voted to pass the resolution with Hicks offering the only vote against it.

The city took over maintenance of West Alcott from Otter Tail County in 2019.

Department of Natural Resources assistant area parks and trails supervisor, Erik Anthonisen got quick and unanimous approval from the city council when he asked the city to submit a “No Child Left Inside” grant for $5,000 toward the purchase of a snow groomer to groom cross-country ski trails in Fergus Falls.

Anthonisen made his request on behalf of the Otter Tail Nordic Ski Association (OTNSA) and the local chapter of the Minnesota Youth Ski League. In a written synopsis of the request, Anthonisen pointed out the grant application is fairly easy to complete and OTNSA would be willing to do so on the city’s behalf at 9 a.m., Oct. 23.

The grants are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and must be used by June of 2020.

The price of a snow groomer is approximately $5,500. If the city was successful in their grant application, OTNSA would look for additional funding from local sources.

Anthonisen told the council that some of the locations where groomed trails could be created would include Lake Alice, the Regional Treatment Center grounds and possibly the dairy property near the Otter Tail River.

It was also mentioned that a groomer could be useful in grooming sledding hills.

The groomer would belong to the city but OTNSA could supply volunteers to help and equipment to pull the groomer.

The council also approved the second reading of Ordinance 87 and a letter of support to submit transportation alternative grants for improvements to the Union and Stanton Avenue intersection.

A resolution calling for approval of the preliminary and final plat of the proposed Lot 1, Block 1 Westridge Theater addition as requested by the Westridge Mall Limited Partnership was tabled for two weeks.

Items approved by a consent agenda vote included:

• A resolution accepting the professional services proposal from Olson & Nesvold Engineers for the Union Avenue bridge project in the amount of $162,843.

• A resolution accepting Interstate Engineering professional services proposal for utility design for PI 5329, the MnDOT TH210 improvement project in an amount not to exceed $20,000.

• A resolution authorizing entering into an administrative contract with Fergus Falls HRA for the Minnesota Small Cities Development Program Grant.

• A resolution approving the Section 3 plan.

• A resolution authorizing the signing of a certificate for a drug-free workplace; the prohibition of an excessive force policy; a residential anti-displacement and relocation assistance plan and a small cities development program income report.

• A resolution accepting donations for the fire department and directing those funds to the fire department trust fund.

• A motion directing the city attorney to rezone the property located at 1174 Western Avenue from R-A to B-1 as requested by Otter Tail County.

• A resolution designating polling places for 2020 elections.

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