Council lines up roadway, utilities for animal shelter

When it comes to the new animal shelter, the Austin City Council is paving the way. It’s called 22nd Street SE.

At a public hearing during Monday night’s meeting, council members voted to accept the preliminary plat for the Wunderlich Addition, where the Mower County Humane Society’s new shelter and the city’s new animal shelter will go. The land is located at the end of E Oakland Avenue, which will become 22nd Street SE.

Shortly after, the council voted 7-0 to approve a development agreement with the Humane Society.

“This agreement actually outlines specific steps that must be taken to properly plat and develop this property,” said Craig Hoium, the city’s community development director.

The Humane Society will be responsible for the cost of platting the property. Once it has, it will give the city the option of purchasing a lot on the property for $20,000. The Humane Society will also have to provide any easements needed and pay the city $60,000 to cover the infrastructure costs involved.

On the city’s end will be the costs of extending gas, water and electric utilities out to the site, plus an extension of the sanitary sewer. It would also take care of constructing 22nd Street SE. The council accepted a bid for the sanitary sewer to lead along 22nd Street SE.

City, county to further consider grandstand demolition options

No firm plans are set yet about how exactly to demolish the condemned grandstand at the Mower County Fairgrounds, but Fire Chief Mickey Healey reviewed the possibility of a controlled burn training exercise.

“Other than the location and the size of the building, there’s nothing unusual about doing controlled burns and training by fire departments,” said Council Member Brian McAlister.

Healey confirmed, saying the grandstand bore a lot in common with other structures, and the Austin Fire Department has done such burns before.

“Right now there are three of them that are on hold from doing live-burn training in the immediate vicinity around us, only because of the burning ban,” he said.

If a burn date were scheduled for December, Healey said the department would be able to practice with its new firetruck, which will have arrived by then. All nine fire departments in Mower County would be invited to participate, and departments in nearby areas like Hayward and Blooming Prairie might be asked to join as well.

“We would send out invitations basically to everyone in our mutual aid agreement,” he said.

“I would assume there’d be a second date in case it’s windy,” said Council Member Judy Enright. “You’re not going to do it with winds 50 mph.”

Right now, the county is waiting on reports from abatement companies to ensure the structure poses no hazard to burn. Healey said it could take more than two weeks until those come in, and no decisions will be made before that.

Other business

Between the council meeting and the work session that followed, council members also:

—approved a progress report and management plan for Austin’s flood plain, which includes the steps for emergency notification and what steps to take going forward. Three-hundred structures have been removed over the past 34 years and 38 still remain in the flood plain.

—awarded a bid of $1,990 for the demolition of the downtown plaza restrooms.

—granted the Planning and Zoning Department the power to contract for the removal of junk and illegally stored vehicles at 2004 Third Ave. NE.

—approved a subdivision of the Walmart property for an upcoming AutoZone store. The new building will occupy land along 18th Ave. NW opposite the parking lot from the Walmart building. Vehicle traffic will be able to access it through the Walmart parking lot, not directly from 18th Avenue.

—discussed four out-of-commission Austin Utilities properties, two electric substations and two natural gas regulator stations, to be put up for sale. One still holds a cement block building while the others are largely empty. Utilities plans to accept bids until Dec. 4.

—approved the use of $800,000 Police PERA funds to go toward the Law Enforcement Center remodel.

—approved the installation of wireless internet in City Hall.

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