Boat rentals, street closings on city’s agenda tonight

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 11, 2002


Monday, March 11, 2002

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Boat rentals, street closings on city’s agenda tonight

By David Rask Behling

Tribune staff writer

Residents of Albert Lea will have one more opportunity to sound off on a proposed boat rental operation on Fountain Lake, and this time the proposal includes the possibility of a public dock near the city beach.

A public hearing about the boat rentals and dock are scheduled for tonight’s city council meeting. The council is also scheduled to discuss the possible closure of railroad crossings on South Washington, Winter and Water streets.

The boat rental operation would be operated by David Berg, a summer resident of Albert Lea, and might use a portion of the proposed dock during the day. The rental boats would be stored at Berg’s lakeside residence at night. The public dock would also be available for the use of water skiers, addressing safety concerns that have been raised over the years.

Since January the council has heard comments on the boat rental operation at two other public hearings. They originally approved boat rentals from Berg’s residence, and then rescinded their approval after receiving objections from Berg’s neighbors.

The possibility of a public dock was added to the proposal by council member Ron Sorenson, who said he was trying to address safety issues raised by members of the Bayside Skiers waterskiing club and other boaters on Fountain Lake.

The council is also scheduled to take up the topic of railroad crossings at the meeting. At the council meeting on Feb. 25, Julie Carr, a representative of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, brought recommendations to the council regarding the possible closing of railroad crossings at three locations and the upgrading or installation of warning devices at several others.

Most of the funding would come from federal and state sources. The city would not need to pay any of the costs arising from a road closing, and would only need to pay 10 percent of the cost of signal upgrades and installations. In order for the city to receive federal and state funding for the closures and upgrades, the council needs to act before the end of March.

In other business the council will also:

– Act on a request to hold an aerobatics competition at the city airport on Sept. 6-8, 2002.

– Accept bids on the downtown street reconstruction project. The low bid is little more than half of the estimate, resulting in lower assessments to downtown property owners.

Boat business

Facts about the proposed boat rentals:

Operator: David Berg, 137 Bridge Ave., Albert Lea

Open: May 17

Close: Sept. 30

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Rental boats: SeaDoo SPX Personal Watercraft (2); Lund aluminum fishing boat w/40 hp outboard engine; paddle boat; canoe; 20 ft. Pontoon boat w/50 hp engine

The operator would use one additional personal watercraft to monitor rental-boat use throughout the day.

All rentals would include life jackets and hands-on instruction covering boat operations. Instructions on Minnesota boat rules would be given to renters to sign and read.