Two blocks of First Street to become one-way

Sarah Ebeling | Managing Editor

Although there were several items on the agenda at last week’s city council meeting, council members quickly ticked them off. 

One topic of discussion was the expense of a water main at the new Twisted Pines Venue on the edge of Parker. Owner Robb Jensen was not present but mayor Ron Nelson explained that Jensen would like to upsize the water line that needed to be installed to the curb stop. Currently, the city installs a 1” line, but Jensen was asking for a 6” line. 

Council member Arnie Erickson said he did not think that it was the city’s responsibility. 

Council member Brian Schulte said he would sit this discussion out due to a conflict of interest but did ask if the council would do the same thing for Jones’ of Parker Ford. Erickson continued, noting that just because it was a business, didn’t make it a city obligation.  

Street superintendent Mike Jorgensen explained different examples of how the city has handled these issues in the past and said that if someone wants water, the city brings it to them, but only to the curb stop. He noted too that Jensen was willing to pay for the difference in the size of pipe but the reason for the extra cost was due to the boring that would need to be done beneath the highway, a meter pit and a “T”. 

Erickson noted it is a whole different deal if they are adding a “T”. 

Schulte said, “As long as we are fair, that’s all I care about.”  

The item was approved, as was several other items on the agenda. 

Members of Parker’s school board were on hand at 8 p.m. to discuss converting First Street into one way parking for two blocks to allow for diagonal parking on both sides of the street. The parking is need due to the school’s new addition that will be constructed on the current parking lot. 

Superintendent Donavan DeBoer spoke to the council, explaining that the board has been looking at different solutions to make the new addition work. He noted they wanted to do what would be financially conducive to do the construction as they now have planned. 

He noted too that although they will lose the parking lot, parking space will increase to over 90 with the diagonal spots. 

Council member Peggy Berens told DeBoer she was having a hard time visualizing the event parking on the playground. DeBoer explained that due to the location of the playground equipment, cars would be able to park on the playground, allowing for more parking spaces. 

Mayor Ron Nelson said that to him, it looks like this drawing solves all the problems. 

The city discussed what they would be willing to do and help with when it comes to tearing out the boulevard to make room for the parking. 

DeBoer mentioned that the board is concerned about the cost of the tear out. Nelson told him that the city would help with the cost. 

Schulte asked if they are paying for all the engineering and to put the curb and gutter back in. DeBoer said that they will not be removing the sidewalks, simply moving the curb to the sidewalk. 

Nelson explained that he is hoping the county will help and put asphalt back in there. 

DeBoer said that the school will be more than happy to pay for their side of the street, but that this will be good for the community. 

Schulte asked about the cost Jorgensen said he would guess about $20,000. 

Schulte continued, noting he thinks it is a great plan, but wants to know the cost. 

School board member Jason Chester said that in the beginning, early estimates were $90,000 but that was for them doing the whole thing. 

School board member Ransom Jones said he thinks it is important to get it right the first time. 

“Unless I am mistaken too, I believe the cost of the project on both sides is something that the school is willing to pick up here, it’s the labor that we are getting the help with and some of the road that is deferring those costs to where we can probably cover most of the price of the project, unless I am mistaken,” said DeBoer. “So I don’t know that there would be a lot of cost for the city at all, except for some time and some labor and some help to tear out. And the mat.”

Erikson asked about snow removal and DeBoer explained they have a spot for it. 

Schulte questioned who would be responsible for the snow removal? 

Nelson noted that this is going to benefit everyone and they need to work to help everybody. 

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