Council to take a second look at Legion lane

Duane Hicks

Town council will take a closer look at maintenance of the lane running along the east side of the Legion hall here.
Council’s agenda last night included a recommendation to deny a request from the local Legion for the town to take over the maintenance of the lane, which is on the Legion’s private property but has fallen into disrepair–a process aggravated by traffic during construction of the Rainy Lake Square.
But Mayor Roy Avis pulled the agenda item and suggested council send the matter back to the Operations and Facilities executive committee for further discussion, this time with Legion representation at the table.
“It’s of benefit to us,” he reasoned. “If we’re spending over a million dollars on the Rainy Lake Square, and there’s a parking lot across from the Legion, it [the lane] is a walkway through to Scott [Street].
“I believe we have parking problems as it is,” the mayor added.
He noted if the town sits down with the Legion, maybe they can figure out a cost-sharing arrangement or possibly the town could purchase the land, in order to ensure access from Church Street to Scott Street can continue.
Coun. June Caul explained the main reason why the Operations and Facilities executive committee recommended the request be denied is because it is private property, and the committee was concerned about setting a precedent with grading private property.
But Mayor Avis said he still feels some sort of agreement can be struck.
Coun. Doug Kitowski agreed.
“I think, at the very least, we should repair what we’ve damaged,” he remarked.
“Everybody goes through there like it’s a freeway.”
Coun. Kitowski stressed the lane is an access point between Church Street and its parking areas and the new market square.
If it’s fixed, maybe it will stop some downtown merchants from parking on Scott Street all day as they work at the different stores.
Maybe they’ll park at the parking lots across from the Legion and walk right through the Rainy Lake Square to Scott Street, he suggested.
Coun. Kitowski added he drove down the lane the other night, and agreed “it’s pretty rough” and needs to be fixed.
“At the very least, we should repair it–but I think we should own it,” he noted.
Council unanimously agreed to refer the Legion’s request back to the committee for further discussion, and to invite Legion representation to the table.