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Wadena downtown businesses to gain parking - after losing it

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The highlighted area indicates the planned addition of angled parking along Aldrich Avenue SE in Wadena. Image courtesy City of Wadena

Wadena City Council members unanimously approved the addition of angled parking spaces on the north side of Aldrich Avenue SE during a special meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The parking is much like that added along the north side of Drastic Measures Brewing last year. At that time, angled parking was considered on the north side of 1776 Clothing Company and ultimately talks stopped while construction work was being done on Hwy 71. The fact that Aldrich is a truck route was also a concern. City staff indicated that the street was wide enough to accommodate the angled parking.

The angled spaces will be added to the north side of Aldrich Avenue for safety reasons. That decision was made because adding the parking on the south side would mean cars backing out of a space would have little chance to see vehicles taking a turn off Hwy 71 onto Aldrich and accidents could be more likely. Those backing up on the north side will have considerably more warning of oncoming traffic.

The push to bring this parking area in comes after MnDOT striped a driving lane in front of a portion of Pizza Ranch, Ameriprise Financial and 1776 Clothing Company, taking away the parking option in front of those businesses.

“We were unaware it was happening until it happened that day,” City Administrator Janette Bower said.

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Councilman Wade Miller observed a dangerous situation as a vehicle parked in what is now “no parking” and nearly had their bumper removed by trucks that were trying to follow the lane of traffic. Miller felt more should be done to warn people of no parking. He suggested painting the curb yellow.

Bower said that MnDOT does not paint the curbs yellow, but the city could do that. Miller also suggested pylons be considered to make people aware of the recent change.

Councilman Jesse Gibbs indicated he fully supported more parking options. Gibbs only concern was that the spaces not be too close to the corners so there is ample space to help avoid collisions. Mayor George Deiss said by his measurements the city gained roughly 14-15 spaces with that additional parking, which extends the length of the block. The addition still requires people to cross the street if their destination was at any of the businesses that lost parking spaces.

The council shared that they have not heard complaints about the current angled parking on Aldrich Avenue, rather there have been numerous comments thankful for the addition.

Still one major complaint councilors hear is a lack of parking downtown. Deiss looked at the positive side of that concern, meaning many people are shopping Wadena.

“It’s a good thing that we need parking,” Deiss said.

Wadena City Council urge leaders to pass bonding bill

Wadena City Council members are urging the Minnesota Legislature to hear them out in a plea to pass a bonding bill that would channel funding to the city for Hwy 10 construction improvements. Those improvements include completing a conversion from two-lanes to four lanes on the east and west ends of the city; and an improved access for the proposed new site of Tri-County Health Care at 11th Street.

The plea came in the form of a resolution during the special meeting Tuesday, Sept. 1. The resolution asks them to take action during the fourth special session planned for September. The resolution goes on to Representative John Poston, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent and Governor Tim Walz.

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All council members were in favor of the resolution.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at mjohnson@agweek.com or 218-640-2312.
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