by April Scheinoha
The Thief River Falls City Council has authorized filling the firefighter position that will be vacated by Co-Fire Chief Jerry Stenseth.
Stenseth is retiring Thursday, March 31. He is battling pancreatic cancer. A benefit for Stenseth is scheduled Thursday, March 17, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Thief River Falls Eagles Club. The event includes a spaghetti dinner, silent auction, raffle and live auction. A Jerry Stenseth Benefit Account has been established at Northern State Bank.
City Council ordered the plans and specifications for the 2016 Street and Utilities Improvement Project. Estimated to cost more than $3 million, the project includes:
• The realignment of the two sections of Greenwood Street with Highway 59. One section is directly in line with Greenwood Crossing. The other section is located south of the property where The Lantern once stood. They will be merged at the latter intersection.
• Construction of Greenwood Street East and Nadine Street
• Edge mill and overlay of Atlantic Avenue
• Mill and overlay of Davis Avenue
• Edge mill and overlay of Oakland Park Road from Greenwood Street to Highway 32
• Edge mill and overlay of First Street from Highway 59 to Sherwood Avenue
• Construction of a multi-use trail along Pennington Avenue from Eastwood Drive to Evergreen Street and then along Evergreen Street to Challenger Elementary School
• Water main replacements underneath portions of Conley, St. Paul and Markley avenues
• Street and utilities improvements on Jefferson Avenue
• Miscellaneous sanitary sewer cured-in-place lining
City Council held a first reading of an ordinance to rezone the former D & J Radio building, 1023 Atlantic Ave. N. Owners James and Darlene Hulteen hope to rezone the property from General Industrial District (I-2) to General Business District (C-2). They hope to sell the property. The unidentified buyers plan to restore classic cars, and sell incidental car and auto parts.
City Council approved removing a 1991 GMC bucket truck from the city’s list of surplus property. The council instructed Electric Superintendent Dale Narlock and Streets/Sanitation Supervisor Randy Konickson to provide a recommendation regarding the vehicle.
Narlock had asked to add the bucket truck to the surplus property list since its outriggers are settling. He noted the bucket truck was repaired four years ago at a cost of more than $5,000.
“I got rid of the truck for the simple reason I don’t want anyone to get hurt on it,” Narlock said.
Since that time, it has been suggested that the Streets/Sanitation Department could use the truck for tree-trimming or leaf vacuuming purposes. However, Konickson hasn’t yet looked at the truck.
If the city wants to keep the truck and use it for that purpose, Narlock suggested that it should be inspected.
Council Member Curt Howe replied that the council is contemplating the reestablishment of a Forestry Department. He said he doesn’t want to spend $80,000 for a new bucket truck if the city could fix this one for $10,000.
Meg Morley, public affairs/government affairs representative with Enbridge Energy, and Steve Haubrich, Enbridge technical supervisor for the Thief River Falls area, appeared before the council. They provided information on the replacement of Line 3. The pipeline travels over 1,000 miles from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wis. A portion of the pipeline travels through Pennington County. The current pipeline will be decommissioned and filled with nitrogen. It will continue to be inspected as part of the regular maintenance process.
In a prior meeting with the Pennington County Board, Enbridge representatives said that the line is slated for replacement in July or August 2017 at the earliest.
The council approved the consent agenda. Council Member Don Sollom abstained from voting. The consent agenda, among other items, included a progression raise for Ben Myers, parks/arenas maintenance employee. Myers is Sollom’s nephew.
The consent agenda also included the approval of a lease with Northwest Acceleration for the rental of the lower level of Ralph Engelstad Arena. Northwest Acceleration will rent the area for fitness center activities. Spanning from Feb. 1, 2016, through Jan. 31, 2019, the contract specifies that Northwest Acceleration will pay $682 per month the first year. That amount increases 2 percent each year after that point in time.
Mayor Brian Holmer signed a proclamation for Norwegian Heritage Week, May 15-21. During that time, Sons of Norway Snorre Lodge 70 will highlight the strong Norwegian heritage of this area. Jim Strandlie, a representative of the group, said events are planned every evening that week.
The next council meeting is scheduled Tuesday, March 1 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.