NAFRS and Dundas are moving forward together. Dundas Mayor Glenn Switzer said the Council affirmed their support for the fire facility upgrades this week. Switzer said in the last month there’s been a lot of improvement in communication and a lot more answers given to the City. “We’re feeling a little bit more moving forward with what is happening”. There’s been a lot of acrimony between the organizations as Dundas struggled for answers to their
questions. Switzer said all the meetings and committee meetings are now posted online and they will be reported on as to who’s attended and what happened. Two new board members, Jessica Peterson White and Anne Haddad had many of the same questions as Dundas when they joined the NAFRS Joint Powers Board in January. Haddad was elected Vice Chair. Switzer’s full recap of the Dundas council meeting is online at kymnradio.net.
School Board considers facilities, a referendum and operating levy
The Northfield School District held a work session regarding facilities. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann explained there’s an Elementary project that would a potential new building on the Greenvale Park campus and renovation of the current building for an Early Education Center. The high school project includes a new one on the same site. As the Board talks about a possible bonding issue, they also discussed the operating levy which currently runs through 2022. Hillmann added they want to be very transparent with the community about what the needs are, not just for now, but for the next 10 years. Often a school district will go for a bond issue and then come back soon after, for an operating levy which can be confusing to voters. If they do any bond issue, they would also partner an operating levy with it so people would know all at once what they’re asking for. A referendum to pay for the entire wish list for the schools could be $106 million, that doesn’t include an operating levy. It could come to voters as early as this November or 2019. Hillmann says they’ll know in a few months if they decide to come to the voters. Hillmann’s entire interview is online at kymnradio.net.
After years of debate, a dangerous intersection comes closer to some action
Last night the consultant for Hwy 246 and Jefferson Pkwy, Tom Sohrweide, seemed to try to answer some of the more complicated questions regarding pedestrian and bicycle safety. In the recommended single lane roundabout design there’s a 2 part crossing for pedestrians with a protected center island. They could potentially also add a separate bike lane. City Administrator Ben Martig commented on a traffic signal saying the “warrants aren’t met from Mn Dot requirements. But our other concern with that is that they can actually increase speeds by having signals put in”. If you have a green light that means a free flow of traffic. Pedestrians also need to look multiple ways to cross at that type of intersection. Studies show roundabouts are safer and injuries are less severe. For pedestrians they only have to look to their left when crossing and will have flashing lights to alert drivers. Superintendent Hillman told councilors that he feels their voices have been heard and that the Council has received information from experts, adding, “I am comfortable as the Superintendent with the recommendation of the general direction”. He hopes they will move forward and that the District continues to have a seat at the table through the actual design. School buildings official, Jim Kulseth echoed Hillmann who also acknowledged Council for the work they’ve done adding, “I’m really pleased to see that we’re actually within the ballpark of taking some action here”. He also praised the experts, including Staff, Mn Dot officials and the Consultant. Martig said this will come back to Council in March to take action in support of strictly the intersection. There will be continued discussion on the broader issues.