Group of residents request paving Wallenberg Drive, council to discuss options at work session

By Chad Koenen


The Ottertail City Council received a high level look at what it could take to pave four existing gravel roads in the city limits.

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday night, the Ottertail City Council heard from Bob Schliemann, of Apex Engineering, about the overall scope of paving Pottery Drive, Wallenberg Drive, Thalmann Road and Hilltop Road. Paving all four roads has been discussed, at least in brief passing, at city council meetings for quite some time. Tuesday’s meeting was the first time the city council received a detailed report of the overall scope and cost of paving all four of the projects.

Schliemann said the information he provided the council was very preliminary, but provided a scope of what each project could entail. As part of his plan, Schliemann brought each road being discussed up to a width of 22 feet with a culdesac at the end. The exception was Hilltop Road, which would be just 20 feet wide due to the challenges in making the road 22 feet. 

The cost to bring the road up to par for Pottery Drive was $210,000, Wallenberg Drive was $250,000, Thalmann Road was $94,000 and Hilltop Road was $250,000. Of that cost, 70 percent of the project could be assessed back to property owners along the route. 

“If we are going to pave an existing gravel road we can asses 70 percent of the project,” said Schliemann.

In previous meetings the city council had said it would like to hear from residents who live along the gravel roads to get their input, before moving forward with paving, or leaving the road as is.

Last week the city council heard from several residents along Wallenberg Drive who also presented a petition to the city to pave the road.

“It just makes sense. We are tired of driving down dusty roads. When it rains, sometimes it gets cleaned up reasonably fast and sometimes it doesn’t,” said one property owner along Wallenberg Drive. 

The city council said it will discuss the possible street improvements in more detail at an upcoming work session.

In other news

• Heard a public hearing regarding a nuisance at 101 N. Lake Ave. regarding junk and debris on the property that is in violation of the Ottertail city code. Later in its meeting the city council approved a motion to move forward with the nuisance on the property. 

• Heard a public hearing regarding a nuisance at 121 River View Rd. concerning noxious weeds and building maintenance and appearance, as well as storm debris from June 2022 that has not been cleaned up to date. Later in the meeting the city council approved a motion to move forward with the nuisance on the property. 

• Held a public hearing for a tax abatement at 505 Thumper Lodge Rd. The tax abatement request was approved later in the meeting. 

• Accepted a $6,000 donation from the Ottertail Lions Club for fireworks. 

• Heard the monthly call report from the Ottertail Fire Department. The department has responded to 10 medical calls and one storm related call already in July. The department has responded to 102 calls this year, a mark it didn’t hit until last fall. 

• Approved up to $2,000 to purchase a new laptop for deputy clerk Nessa Burlingame and up to $200 to purchase a new screen for city clerk/treasurer Amanda Thorson. 

• Approved a low bid from Lot Pros, Inc. from Fergus Falls to seal coat and crack fill the bike/walking path in Ottertail. The city also received a bid of $19,621 from Bargen Inc. for the project. 

• Held a first reading to create an ordinance regarding cannabis use and general regulations. The ordinance follows the state law concerning cannabis use that restricts its use in public places in the city. Cannabis can be used in private residences, including the yard; private property not generally accessible by the public and the premises of an establishment or event licensed to permit on-site consumption of cannabis flower, products and hemp-derived consumer products.

• Heard of several proposed amendments to an ordinance for the city’s water system and wells that would restrict things like sand point wells. The city council heard of several concerns from property owners about the proposed amendments, which would no longer allow sand point wells. Many of the concerns revolved around using treated water to water lawns, as opposed to a sand point well. The city council said it will discuss the proposed ordinance amendment at an upcoming work session.