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Several street-closing events planned for Wadena this summer

Fourth of July block party, street dance and the return of Salsa Fest all plan to hit the streets this summer.

Piles of pumpkins welcome visitors to the 2019 Salsa Fest event in Burlington Northern Park in Wadena. The event, hosted by the Sustainable Farming Association, welcomed in vendors of all sorts including fresh produce sellers. The event is set to return in 2021. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal
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The Wadena City Council heard several requests to close streets in the city this summer as groups plan to once again host large gathering events in town.

Epicenter Church pastor Robert Segovia spoke to the council during the regular meeting Tuesday, June 9, requesting to close a portion of street near the church building for a Fourth of July event sporting Minnesota-legal fireworks.

Segovia said they hope to make the event as good as they legally can. The event serves as a fundraiser to help the church raise money to buy their building. They are currently renting their space at 119 1st St. SE.

The council heard from Jessie Grangruth, owner of Iron Corral Bar and Grill, about his desire to work with several other businesses in town including the Wadena VFW to put on a street dance in Wadena on July 24. The exact location of the closure was to be determined while working with Wadena Chief of Police Naomi Plautz.

The Salsa Fest is set to return to Wadena on September 18. Organizers will close down a portion of Aldrich Avenue and use Burlington Northern Park and the gazebo area for music performances. The event is hosted by the Central Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association.


Public hearing

The council held a public hearing with no one from the public speaking to the topic of the city’s intention to issue general obligation capital improvement plan bonds for a remodel of a building that will be the new Wadena library.

RELATED: Wadena library: Funding takes another step forward

Hearing no comments, the council unanimously approved the issuance of bonds not to exceed $2.3 million and adoption of the city’s capital improvement plan.

In other actions, council members approved:

  • Tobacco King’s tobacco license. Tobacco King plans to do business seven days a week at 618 Jefferson St N, Suite #1, in the same strip mall as Four Seas Buffet.
  • Acknowledging and supporting participation by the Wadena Police Department through the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) 1033 Program. The police department has utilized this program to obtain excess Department of Defense property including six rifles.
  • Extending the completion date to the Leaf River Recreational Trail Bridge Replacement project. The city previously approved the engineering proposal and submission of a grant to replace the Leaf River Trail Bridge on Feb. 12, 2019. The project has been extended to June 30, 2022.
  • Authorizing Janson Flying Services to operate out of Wadena Municipal Airport.
  • Award of the 2021 mill and overlay project to Performance Paving LLC for alternates #1, #2, #3, and #4. The project total comes to $99,277 and includes: Franklin Ave SW edges from Hwy 71 to 4th St.; Garfield Ave SW edges from 1st St to 3rd St; Garfield Ave SW from 4th Street to 5th Street; Hwy 29 Frontage Rd West end of Wadena.
  • Hiring George Kveton as a firefighter.
  • Accepting Dale Haman’s resignation from the Wadena Fire Department as the second assistant. He plans to remain on the department.
  • Hiring Andy Worden as Wadena Fire Department second assistant.
  • Accepting Austin Beier’s resignation from the Wadena Fire Department.
  • Hiring Herimann Frost as part-time lifeguard.
  • Authorized entering into a purchase agreement with Frederick Smith for Lot 5, Block 5, Whitetail Run Golf Course Addition. There is no current price posted for the lot and in 2001 the posted price was $14,000. A portion of the lot is buildable and the balance is low brush. Access will be from Leaf River Road. Smith verbally committed to buying the lot for $25,000. He has plans of building on the site. Wadena Planning and Zoning director Dean Uselman said there was only one lot left in this area, but was only of marginal use as much of it was swampy.

Wadena Golf Course lots have been up for sale for decades and are now all nearly sold. Image courtesy City of Wadena

The council also appointed Bruce Uselman and Jessie Gibbs to a liquor policy committee to explore allowing alcohol use in a portion of the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center.

In other topics the council heard from Interim City Administrator David Evans that the Splash Park is using plenty of water but at this time no water bans are going into place. Mayor George Deiss said that was a topic other mayors across the state were discussing as the area continues to see a lack of precipitation.

He's a writer, editor, photographer, truth seeker and promoter of the Wadena area.
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