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Montevideo Council preparing proposal for vets home

MONTEVIDEO -- Montevideo will be returning to the Capitol with plans in hand to urge lawmakers to consider developing a veterans home in the community.

City Council members took action at their meeting Monday to approve a contract the Montevideo Community Development Corporation reached with Short, Elliot and Hendrickson to pre-design a veterans home. The council approved up to $60,000 for the work, according to City Manager Steve Jones.

The council members also approved up to $4,500 toward an economic impact study of the veterans home project. The study will be completed by the University of Minnesota Extension's Department of Applied Economics.

Montevideo has been seeking to host a veterans home and offered to help finance its development. The community has also pointed out the availability of medical care and other services to support a veterans home.

In other business, council members informally agreed to pursue a new ordinance that would ban billboards along the designated scenic byway on the U.S. Highways 212 and 59.

The Montevideo segment is the only portion with billboards, which are not allowed as part of the byway.

There is a possibility that the Montevideo portion of the byway could be removed from the byway maps if the billboards remain.

The city's current sign ordinance is very restrictive and makes it unlikely that new billboards could be erected, according to Jones. He said the council agreed to begin the process of drafting rules to meet the byway requirements.

In another matter, the council learned that only two property owners in the Smith Addition responded affirmatively to a survey on whether they would be interested in a possible flood buyout. Surveys were sent to 21 properties in the flood plain. They are in the "B" zone, which is an area where 100-year-level flooding would not reach their first floors. However, the homes could experience basement flooding and the residents would be without utility and emergency services.

Due to the lack of interest, the council will not pursue federal flood buyout funds for the area this year.