Residents who live in the Lucht’s Crossing development in North Branch approached the North Branch City Council Aug. 26 with a list of complaints about a mound of rubble that has been in the area since the Green Acres County Care Center was demolished two years ago.
Resident Stephanie Johnson said it’s more than just an eyesore — it’s a safety hazard.
“The children use the site as a playground and play with the rubble – the site is not secured,” she said, noting there is a fence around the pile of refuse, but portions of the fence are not adequate to keep people out.
She also explained that people who have waste to dump sometimes just add onto the pile, and there are others who come and scavenge from it.
“There are broken shards of glass, paint cans, rusted metal, used wheelchairs and a boiler tank,” she said. “It is an accumulation of trash and metal.”
She and other residents present at the meeting presented the council with a petition that requested someone – either the owners of the land or the city — remove all of the trash within 30 days.
City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad explained to the residents, as part of the development agreement, Shade Tree Communities, LLC and 21st Century Bank — one of the neighborhood developers and its bank — do not need to have stages 3 and 4 of the refuse removal completed until 2016.
“They were not able to do the demolition and the removal at the (same) time, so that was the agreement by the City Council at the time to give them some time to recoup some of their funds for the demolition of the building through the recyclables,” she explained.
That information didn’t sit well with the residents, and Mayor Ron Lindquist said the council would look into what steps could be taken to speed the process along.
“I think we should send a letter to the developer and the bank to encourage them to speed up this process and get it done,” he said.
Councilmember Trent Jensen agreed with Lindquist and said a “strongly worded letter” might just be the “shot across the bow” the city needs to expedite the removal.
Also during the meeting, the council discussed having city staff draft a request for proposal to solicit website developers to redesign the city’s outdated website.
Konrad said the deadline for RFPs will be Sept. 23, and a committee composed of her, Jensen and Councilmember Kathy Blomquist would review the proposals, narrow them down to two to four and then bring the finalists to the council at its Oct. 17 work session.
At the Oct. 28 meeting, the council would vote to select a company to perform the website work.