By Derrick Knutson—
For an estimated 64 days starting this week, the intersection of Highway 95 and County Road 30 – one of North Branch’s busiest thoroughfares – will be under construction.
Parking in the area could become an issue during the project, so the North Branch City Council has decided to explore the possibility of using the old Nelson’s Market parking lot at Elm Street and Forest Blvd. for temporary parking.
City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad said the lot could be used by customers and business employees alike.
Council member Theresa Furman brought up the proposal after numerous business owners told her they were concerned about the potential temporary negative impacts the construction could have on business in the area.
The council made a unanimous vote to pursue the parking lot possibility at the meeting.
Konrad said city staff still needs to get ahold of owners of the closed grocery store property to find out if parking there would be permitted.
“I’m in favor of this, I think we need to do it,” council member Kathy Blomquist said.
Council member Ron Lindquist echoed that assertion.
“The business people need this,” he said. “They’re looking at a maybe 40 percent loss for six weeks. That’s tough.”
Also during the meeting, the council unanimously approved a routine 25-cent per hour pay increase for non-bargaining employees. That increase goes into effect Dec. 31 of this year.