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It’s costing a lot of cash to build a hole

By Rich Glennie
In its latest effort to beautify the city, Glencoe leaders have plopped a large hole in the ground in a residential area and called it a holding pond. Impressive.
The newest ponds are part of the central storm water project, and this particular one is located at the corner of Ives Avenue and 13th Street. All the trees have been removed, the hole is being drilled under the nearby railroad tracks and the new piping will be installed forthwith.
We seem to be building a lunar landscape around the community with all our holding ponds.
Visually, one can now see all the way from 13th Street to 10th Street on Ives Avenue without fear of an obstructed view. Dang trees just got in the way anyway. The mayor’s house also can now be seen from blocks away after the foliage was removed around his property.
Looks a tad bare on that corner, folks. That could be a harbinger of what the whole neighborhood north of 13th Street/Judd Avenue might look like in the near future. Quite the beautification effort!
Normally, I do not pay much attention to the City Council’s official minutes. But in last week’s Chronicle, I noticed a couple of things from the May 7 Council meeting.
At the tail end of the minutes, after a closed meeting was reopened (without any members of the public present), the council members debated and voted 3-2 to accept an easement agreement to run the storm sewer through the St. Pius X church parking lot. The city agreed to pay up to $5,000 for the appraisal on the value of the easements.
The second item, also on a 3-2 vote, agreed to pay $78,000 for the Arandia house needed to complete the above mentioned holding pond along 13th Street. The house had been condemned earlier. Had the city not paid that price, the project could have been held up as the city tried to obtain it in the courts using the power of eminent domain. That could have cost the city even more.
The city had already set a precedent by purchasing the neighboring Ruble house for about the same $78,000 and razing the building.
That means the city will spend about $150,000 to purchase these two dilapidated homes to construct a hole in the ground. On top of that are the demolition costs.
If that’s not bad enough, city officials may have boxed themselves into a corner.
If I understand this right, the street and storm sewer reconstruction work had already begun on Knight Avenue south of St. Pius X before the city finally got an agreement with the New Ulm Diocese on the property easement. Isn’t that starting a project before all the ducks are in order?
And isn’t it presumptuous to finally purchase a vital piece of property for the pond after the construction began? In other words, not all the pieces were in place when the project got started. Why was the city is such a hurry?
Have to wonder if this is the normal practice on city projects. Hope not.
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014.