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Granite Falls City Council approves funding to survey possible Minnesota River Valley trail route to Wegdahl

GRANITE FALLS -- City Council members on Monday approved contributing up to $1,500 toward the costs of surveying a portion of the possible Minnesota Valley Trail route between Granite Falls and Wegdahl.

The citizens group known as the Minnesota River Valley Trails Initiative offered $500 toward the cost as well, said City Manager Bill Lavin.

Goeff Hathaway, representing the Trails Initiative, asked the city to consider contracting with Bonnema Surveys to develop new maps on a revised route from Granite Falls to the Spartan Wildlife Management Area. The survey could help in developing a trail route that would avoid the conflicts with the Twin Cities & Western and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads in that area. The city and railroads are currently locked in litigation over the proposed trail. Most of its proposed route is within the 100 feet-wide path created by railroad right-of-way along the Minnesota River.

In other business at the meeting Monday, council members instructed the city attorney to draft a proposed ordinance that would allow an antique shop to be opened in a former church located at 380 Eighth Avenue. It is in a residential area and near the Yellow Medicine East Schools in an area now zoned for medium-density residential use only.

Mary Gillespie is interested in opening an antique shop in the vacant church building and would need an ordinance change to open a business there.

In a related matter, council members approved a motion that denies a request by Betsy Lavin for zoning or ordinance changes that would allow opening a retreat center in a residence on Prentice Street south of the former City Hall.

The house would have been used in a manner similar to a bed and breakfast, but would not be owner-occupied.

Also Monday, council members discussed complaints about odors from the hot mix plant operated by Central Paving Specialties in the Martin Marietta quarry on the city's west side. Council members said they've fielded a number of complaints this year about the odors.

Representatives of the operation and the quarry said they have complied with all of the permit requirements. The permit allows five more operation days at the site this year.

Council members took no action, but agreed to review city requirements for hot mix operations within the city limits.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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