St. Boni reviews maintenance needs, issues at city parks

By Lorrie Ham
For The Patriot

The St. Boni City Council reviewed the results of the city’s park/planning commission’s annual park tour at the May 17 council meeting. Commissioners and city employees visited each of the city’s parks on May 9 and made recommendations for maintenance issues and improvements based on their visit.

Commissioner Fred Keller said the list includes several maintenance items that can be completed by the city’s public works department, as well as other tasks that may have to be outsourced. One item on the list is proposed grading at Shirley Logelin Memorial Park. Keller said the commission would like to explore the possibility of putting a ball field at the park.

Councilmember Mary Bishop noted that some citizens have voiced opposition to a ball field at that park.
“It’s a beautiful park, but the ground is really uneven,” said Mayor Shawn Ruotsinoja. “The ball field is just an idea at this point . . . but we need to do some grading.”

The public works department will review the list of tasks and prepare 30-, 60- and 90-day timelines of projects that they will be able to complete for the council.

In another matter, the council followed up on a complaint involving a cargo crate located on private property on Wildwood Avenue.

Earlier this year, the council sent a letter to property owner Eugene Rakow requiring the crate to be removed within 30 days. Rakow appeared before the council in April and received a 60-day extension. Rakow said the crate has been on his property for the past 15 or 16 years. The council has since updated its city code and ordinances which now specifically prohibits cargo crates on private property other than as a temporary structure.

In further review of the situation, city staff discovered that the crate is actually located on Rakow’s neighbor’s property at 8408 Wildwood Avenue. Rakow said he put the crate on property that both he and his neighbor agreed was Rakow’s at the time.

The council voted to send Rakow another letter dismissing the outstanding action to remove the crate since it is not located on his property. The council also voted to send a letter to the neighboring property owner requiring him to remove the crate within 30 days since it is not allowed by city ordinance.

Rakow argued that the crate was his property. Smestad suggested that Rakow get a survey of his property and said the situation involving the crate was between Rakow and his neighbor, but that it had to be moved off the property.

On a 4-1 vote, with Ruotsinoja opposed, the council approved a no parking zone on Wildwood Avenue on both sides of the street from Tower Street to the western city line. In discussion with property owners on the street who had concerns about alleged high vehicle speeds and traffic, the council has authorized additional speed limit signs, school zone signs, crosswalks and striping. The council resolution states that no parking areas are necessary due to the striping of the required 11 foot travel lanes, which does not leave sufficient room for on-street parking.

Ruotsinoja suggested that the no parking zone begin at Meadowview Terrace west to the city line instead of beginning at Tower. Councilmember Bob Smestad thought that changing the plan would mess up the planned striping. A Wildwood Avenue resident brought up parking during baseball games at Missile Park. “It will be an issue,” she said.

The resolution did authorize the public works department to cover the no parking signs on one side of the street during city events that warranted additional parking in the area.

In other business, the council:
*decided to get further information from the current property assessor as well as Hennepin County before making a decision on city assessment services.

*received the city’s 2016 financial audit from Matt Moline of Eide Bailly. Moline said the city’s finances were in good shape and he didn’t have any concerns. He also thanked the city staff members for their cooperation in the audit process.

*declined to take any action on a citizen request for a crosswalk at Hillview Drive and County Road 92. In discussion, some of the councilmembers felt it was a dangerous area to encourage crossing.