City council

Republican Eagle file photo

Red Wing is considering adding a sidewalk along North Service Drive to provide pedestrian access to businesses like Target and other restaurants along the road. 

However, during the June 25 council meeting, concerns were brought up by council members regarding how the sidewalk might impact some of the residents in that neighborhood. 

A project to add a sidewalk along North Service Drive is in the early planning stages and a presentation by City Engineer Jay Owens was given during the council meeting. 

The sidewalk would create an accessible walkway for walkers visiting businesses along North Service Drive.

“We are looking at this sidewalk connection from North Tyler Road all the way down to the Cannon Valley Trail,” Owens said. 

“The first phase of the project we plan to get together sometime in early summer with the residents and the businesses in that area and have a neighborhood meeting about the potential project on North Service Drive,” he continued. 

Concerns about some of the residents having to take care of the additional sidewalk came up during discussion about the project. 

Council member Dean Hove said, “The four residents included in this will be getting sidewalk in their backyard, and they are going to be responsible for shoveling that because that is city code and that is my biggest concern with this.”

“There has got to be a way to help those citizens out because it is just not fair, it is their backyard and is more than a block from the front of their house,” Hove continued. 

Owens plans on holding a meeting with the residents and business owners and exploring different options for the final vision of this project. The council did not take action on the item and will discuss it further in the future. 

 

City equity goals 

The council went over some brief highlights of the compiled equity goals from Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann. Each board and commission provided goals and priorities for racial equity within their groups. 

“On Nov. 22, 2021, the City Council unanimously approved the 2022 strategic racial equity plan,” Kuhlmann said.

Each of the boards provided goals and are encouraged to keep those goals in mind when planning for next year.

“At the end of the year, we plan on coming back to the City Council with a report on what we have accomplished and a big part of this is to identify goals so that we can be held accountable on that,” Kuhlmann said.

“Also we want to make this an annual report. So each year we will ask the boards and commissions to create their plan for the racial equity strategic plan and then each year at the beginning of the year we will report our accomplishments,” she continued. 

Some highlights from the board and commissions goals included training, providing election information in Spanish and creating a BIPOC loan program through the Port Authority. 

 

Tobacco discussion

During the council administrator's report, the council discussed the  topic of changing ordinances pertaining to tobacco licensing. 

Kuhlmann provided some examples from other cities about how they regulate tobacco licenses and sales. 

The council highlighted that they want to find ways to ensure that the younger generations cannot obtain the substances easily. 

“I don’t necessarily have issues with adults smoking, and I understand that it is something that people want to do. I do, however, have issues with kids getting into smoking because that is problematic, and they get it because it is brought in in a lot of ways that are dangerous,” Council member Evan Brown said.

They agreed that regulating how it is sold can be a complex process. 

“I feel like capping the number of a certain type of business is a slippery slope because we also know that alcohol use is not good for us and yet we have a lot of alcohol business and I just think we need to think about where is the line,” Council member Erin Buss said. 

The council is planning to discuss this issue further at a future meeting to find more ways to allow tobacco businesses to remain in town, while also ensuring the safety of younger generations.

“I think we can get more creative with the ways that we go about this and I think there are other ways that we can take a look at to still reduce it and create some balance,” Council President Becky Norton said. 

 

Quick Hits

  • Three firefighters were recognized during the council meeting. Ryan Lystad is assigned to A shift with the Red Wing Fire Department. Michael Babb is assigned to the Fire Prevention Division with the Red Wing Fire Department as a fire inspector. Gabe Kinney was promoted to captain and was assigned to Engine Company Four with the Red Wing Fire Department. 

  • During Public Comment, a resident spoke about the Eisenhower Bridge of Valor dedication at Bay Point Park on Aug. 7 at 10 a.m. during River City Days. 

  • An alleyway project “connecting to the east side of West Avenue at points 225 feet south and 870 feet south of the West Seventh Street intersection” was approved by the city council following a public hearing. 

  • Layne Kockelman, CPA manager from Abdo presented the findings for the 2021 city audit. The full financial report is available online at the city’s website. The annual financial audit report was approved by the council. 

  • Maggie Cichosz, community engagement specialist for Goodhue County Health and Human Services, provided a presentation on a youth needs assessment for Red Wing. 

  • Michelle Larson from the Chamber of Commerce gave an overview of some highlights happening during the upcoming River City Days festival and made a request for $5,000 to support the events taking place during the weekend. The council approved the $5,000 for the event. 

  • A budget workshop will be held on Aug. 1 at 6:30 p.m. 

  • A canvassing meeting following the primary and special elections will be held on Aug. 12 at 7 a.m.

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