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Granite Falls council sees sketch of library, senior center proposal

GRANITE FALLS -- City Council members held their reorganizational meeting and swore in newly elected member Scott Peterson at their meeting on Monday.

Peterson won election to a four-year term as an at-large representative through a write-in vote.

Also taking the oath of office and beginning new four-year terms were re-elected council members Joe Fagnano and Bill Miller and Mayor Dave Smiglewski.

City Council members reviewed a sketch of an expanded library and senior citizen center as developed by Ron Halgerson of TSP Architects, Marshall. Halgerson is now developing a cost estimate for the proposal, said City Manager Bill Lavin.

Council members appointed Mayor Smiglewski and council member Bill Miller to serve on a committee to work with representatives from the library board and senior citizen center.

The city recently received a $137,000 bequest from the estate of Carl and Amy Narvestad for the library. Funds from the bequest could be applied toward a building project, Lavin said.

Council members also learned that the district court would be developing the procedure for proceeding with the ongoing litigation between the Twin Cities & Western Railroad and the city of Granite Falls over the city's efforts to acquire property for a recreational trail to Wegdahl.

The TC & W and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads challenged the city's eminent domain proceedings to acquire property in the railroad right of way between Wegdahl and Granite Falls for the trail. The Supreme Court returned the case to the district court. The court at a hearing on Tuesday was to develop a schedule for considering the matter.

Lavin reported that the BNSF Railway also filed a motion asking the district court to order the city to petition the Federal Surface Transportation Board for a ruling on whether or not the issue of eminent domain for a trail is pre-empted by federal law.

In another matter, a meeting on a proposal to develop a railroad quiet zone on Ninth Avenue was scheduled for Dec. 15. Representatives for the city and BNSF, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Federal Railroad Administration will meet. Residents in the area of the crossing petitioned for the establishment of the quiet zone.