MARSHALL - The vote that would help determine whether Marshall moves ahead with developing an amateur sports center is a little more than a month away. However, city officials continued the preparations on Tuesday night, with an agreement that would ensure the donation of land for the project, should the vote pass.
At their regular meeting, members of the Marshall City Council voted to approve an agreement with the Schwan Food Co. to donate land for the sports center. A public vote on local sales tax options, which would help pay for construction of a regional sports center and expansions at the Minnesota Emergency Responder and Industrial Training (MERIT) Center in Marshall, will be Nov. 6.
Schwan announced in February that it would donate land for the proposed facility - about 16 acres, located north of the former DAC building at the intersection of Minnesota highways 23 and 19. At Tuesday's meeting, Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said the donated land would include 12.3 acres of land for the sports center and a 3.9-acre parcel that included a stormwater retention pond.
The agreement between Schwan and the city for the land would be contingent upon the local sales tax vote passing, Martig said.
Roger Madison, co-chairman of the Regional Amateur Sports Commission, spoke in favor of the agreement. Jeff Thompson, senior director of facility management and real estate at the Schwan Food Co., also voiced his support.
Council members voted 4-1 in favor of approving the agreement, with council member Jennie Hulsizer casting the vote against.
A big part of Tuesday's council meeting was made up of public hearings, including assessment hearings on reconstruction projects on four Marshall streets. Council members took comments on, and later approved assessments for, reconstruction projects on Walker Lane, Park Avenue, South High Street, and Kossuth Avenue.
All four projects included the replacement of sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water lines and the reconstruction of streets and sidewalks. The South High Street reconstruction project drew the most comments from property owners, with four people speaking at the meeting and a pair of written protests noted.
Some residents said they were unhappy with a lack of communication telling property owners when to expect excavation to begin on South High Street. Council member Mike Boedigheimer said he had also received a number of calls about the same issue.
"The big complaint seems to be communication," Boedigheimer said.
Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said he apologized for any lack of communication but added that informational meetings on the project had been well attended, and the city had staff on the reconstruction site almost every day.
Residents also voiced concern about possible drainage problems with the new sidewalks and asked whether parking rules for South High Street had been settled upon. Olson said parking would be allowed on the east side of the street only, and signs would be going up within a week.