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City Council briefs: Main seeks political backing for Lake Pepin project

Rylee Main, executive director of the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, updated Red Wing City Council on efforts to reduce sediments in upper Lake Pepin. The process to develop a feasibility study will begin June 5. The study will determine the scope and anticipated cost of the entire project, which will most likely include creating islands from dredged material and other intensive measures.

While the study will be paid for using federal dollars, Main expects the cost of the entire project to be around $10 million. Right now, she's not asking for money from the communities surrounding the lake, but may in the future.

"Right now, we need political support," said Main. ""We need to make sure our elected leaders are fully behind this project."

3M granted one-year extension

Council approved a one-year extension to an agreement between 3M and the city through the end of 2017. Prior to its acquisition by 3M, Capital Safety had established an agreement with the city to maintain 466 jobs and to add positions.

Brian Naft, a representative from 3M, pointed to the purchase of Capital Safety as the reason behind the missed deadline. "Our business became distracted during the acquisition," said Naft. "We focused on what does 3M:Fall Protection look like in Red Wing. Key parts of our business, particularly oil and gas slowed down as well."

3M has raised the starting wages for new positions by 18 percent since purchasing Capital Safety.

Although Council member John Becker had some reservations about the extension, the motion passed unanimously.

RAMBO to begin fundraising for beginner-friendly bike trail

The Red Wing Area Mountain Bikers Association, a volunteer organization, asked for council's support to create a nearly one-mile mountain bike trail on Memorial Park. "Right now, bike trails range from advanced beginner to expert at the park," said Jason Oberman, a representative from RAMBO. "Over 1,600 laps were logged last year, but the park lacks a true beginner loop that would be better for kids."

The project would cost about $25,000, but the organization plans to fund the project entirely through donations. "I think this is a great idea," Council member Dean Hove said. " I don't see a downside. I wish it was there when I was a kid."

In other news...

• CPR program coordinator and Red Wing firefighter Ron McRae gave a CPR demonstration for council members on how to administer chest compressions. The department hopes to teach "hands-only" CPR to 200 to 250 community members by the end of the year.

• Mayor Sean Dowse recognized May 21-27 as National Public Works Week. "Infrastructure, facilities and services are of vital importance to sustainable communities," noted the mayor noted.

• Andrew Petersen was unanimously appointed to the Community Recreation Joint Powers Board as an at-large member.

• Rep. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing, responded to the council's letter endorsing action on climate change, saying she would keep council's thoughts in mind. Council member Evan Brown noted the Sustainability Commission would discuss all responses from the climate change letter at its next meeting.

Brown latest pointed out that Red Wing received the highest rating for the Green Steps program, which measures sustainability. "A lot of the items that helped push us to that level came from the Sustainability Commission," he said. "I'd like to thank them for their hard work."

• Council unanimously passes a motion amending local ordinances to reflect the change to the state's Sunday liquor law. The law change takes effect this July.

• City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann received high marks on her annual review. The review was passed by council.

• Meeting Watch: The May 22 meeting was called to order at 6:59 p.m. County entered closed session at 9:25 p.m. to develop an offer to purchase property along Sturgeon Lake Road. Open session resumed at 10:35 p.m. and promptly adjourned.