City of New Richmond, Wis., the City Beautilful

New Richmond City Council members met for their regular monthly meeting Monday night, July 12. 

Here is what you need to know:

1. Growth plans dominate agenda

Beth Thompson, Community Development director, was responsible for six of the 11 items on the council’s agenda including the proposed new development of 57 single-family lots, 66 twin-home lots and a new coffee shop. It appears New Richmond is a highly desirable place to live these days. 

25 of those single-family lots and six of the town home parcels belong to Phase 4 of the Fox Run community being developed by Roseville, Minn., developer John Peterson.

34 of the single-family lots and 60 of the town home parcels are proposed as part of the Meadow Crossing subdivision on property the city sold last April for $475,000 to Creative Home Construction Investments. 

The coffee shop is a project of Mint Development and is tentatively planned for a location off South Knowles Avenue.

The only fly in the development pot of honey was raised by Alderman Craig Kittel. Speaking on behalf of the Park Board, Kittel noted that Meadows Crossing included the donation of 4.5 acres back to the city to meet the green space requirement of all new developments. He noted that access to the “park” space would be limited and it was the least developable section of the property.

“I don’t know that the general public will be able to use that area as far as parkland goes. It’s really hilly. We’ve done this in the past, we’ve talked about it on the Park Board, when we take a development in that just wants to basically get rid of land that they can’t use, to dedicate it as a park and now, we don’t get the fees for that area that we could use for a park or we could use for other locations. So this would be about $57,000-58,000,” said Kittel.

The Park Board could review the proposal as early as its August meeting.

2. Snow has to go

Council members approved a recommendation from city staff and Public Works to adopt a new snow removal ordinance that makes all snow removal from private driveways and parking lots in the city the responsibility of the owner or owner’s agent. In the case of shared parking lots and alleys, snow must be hauled away at owner’s expense. 

Any snow deposited in city rights of way will be hauled away by the city and the expense will be billed to the property owner as outlined in the city’s fee schedule. 

Snow on public sidewalks along South Knowles Avenue from First to Fourth streets may be deposited along the curb and gutter. 

3. Police to gain broadband speed 

The council approved the extension of fiber optic cable to the police station as part of the project to upgrade broadband capability at the White Pine substation. The cost to extend fiber is $13,018.90. 

Members also approved an upgrade to the police phone system at a cost of $7,675. 

Fiber access will greatly reduce monthly phone and internet costs for the department while providing access to shared city network drives. Based on recent phone and internet bills, the department could save approximately $519 per month if it joined the city’s internet and IP phone network.

4. First to go two-way

The council approved $5,000 to convert West First Street into a two-way street in its entirety by restriping the roadway and reconfiguring the current angled parking to parallel parking along the route. 

Tom Lindfors is a western Wisconsin freelance journalist and former Star-Observer reporter. Contact him at tom@lindforsphoto.com.

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