Stormwater pond gets $100,000 improvement and Council agrees to fund Community Services
Public Works Director Dave Bennett laid out a few options for funding for the Grant Park stormwater pond improvements to Northfield Council this week. Mayor Graham explained that one choice was $100,000 to provide a buffer zone with tall grasses to help keep the pond cleaner. The other was $400,000 which would include the buffer zone and a thorough cleaning. Bennett said council could wait till 2019 for the larger expenditure. That would allow time for the stormwater fund to build back up. Council approved $100,000.
Mayor Graham commented that a neighbor had called to say someone was swimming in it. He said, “it’s not good water, I just want to remind folks these holding ponds are not good for swimming”. Council also renewed the Recreation Services Agreement through the Northfield School District Community Services Division. City Administrator Ben Martig commented, “what the school district is looking at is a longer term commitment. We’ve had some discussions about the Hospital’s contributions, which they have committed to for the first year with a fixed dollar amount, we do have uncertainty as to the future years so this contract would basically obligate the City to commit to these dollar amounts in the future years”. The Hospital committed to $113,000 for one year. Council approved a 3 year deal. Mayor Graham said they told Hospital officials that, if they didn’t want to use the City as a pass through, they could give the money directly to the School district.
Northfield selected to test new bike sensors
Northfield was selected to be a test site for a new bicycle sensor system on 2nd street at Hwy 3. Sensors were placed there a few years ago but bike enthusiast Erica Zweifel said they were very narrow in scope and not as sensitive as they needed to be. MnDot teamed up with MS Sedco, an Indianapolis company that is providing the sensors. This new system is a radar sensor that is set just for bikes. They are sensitive enough to pick up a pedestrian, bicyclist or car. The sensors are in all 3 lanes. [previous sensors were in just one lane]. When a vehicle triggers the sensor, they get 7 seconds to cross the intersection, MnDot set the sensors for 10 seconds for bikes. They asked that our bike community check it out and send feedback to them. Zweifel added, “it’s only been installed for about a week but, of course, a bunch of us have been riding back and forth across the intersection incessantly to test it!”. She said, “it’s been working really, really well”. Erica and members of Bike Northfield had been invited to a meeting with MnDot’s District 6 on pilot programs when this new sensor was highlighted. Each sensor costs about $5,000. The company donated them for testing purposes. Click on the link for the full interview with Erica including history and more details: Erica Zweifel bike sensors
Summertime means bike safety
It’s summertime and that means Police Chief Monte Nelson reminds us all of bicycle rules and safety. One rule he reiterated is that you cannot ride your bike (or anything with wheels) on sidewalks downtown. There are signs posted. No riding between 2nd and 7th streets downtown and Water to Washington. That’s for everyone’s safety. Nelson said you can walk your bike on the sidewalk. He said if you’re comfortable with your bike skills then ride in the traffic lanes. You have the same rights and responsibilities as the vehicles do. This applies to skateboarders too. Nelson said skateboards are legally allowed in the street but they can’t impede traffic. If you’re on the street on a skateboard, it’s a mode of transportation not a place to do tricks. The Skate Park is for that.
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