Council approves summer parklet

Published 10:45 pm Monday, June 26, 2017

An outside space for families downtown will soon be available in Albert Lea.

The Albert Lea City Council unanimously approved the pilot project of a parklet this summer in the space in front of Grandma’s Kitchen, 115 E. Clark St. A parklet is a deck of sorts that is built over at least one parking space and is designed to provide more space and amenities for users.

“This is a great example of thinking outside the box, and I am hopeful, and I am pretty positive that this will be successful,” said 3rd Ward Councilor Jason Howland. “And hopefully we will see more of these in the future, but I guess time will tell, but really looking forward to this project.”

Email newsletter signup

Parklets would be available to any food restaurant off Broadway Avenue after this summer, said 2nd Ward Councilor Larry Baker.  All policies and procedures for the parklet have not been established by the city.

Councilors briefly discussed materials the parklet would be made of, and Albert Lea Assistant City Manager Jerry Gabrielatos said wood and metal were identified by the Heritage Preservation Committee as possible materials at a meeting earlier this month, during which the organization approved the pilot project.

Grandma’s Kitchen owner Candy Neely earlier this month said she hopes the parklet will provide a family-like atmosphere, and she expressed hope the parklet would be in place by Saturday.

The Blue Zones community policy committee has worked to initiate the project over the last year, and the organization will finance the project.

The parklet is planned to be donated by Lembke Construction Inc. The parklet will be removed for the winter.

In other action, the council:

Authorized an easement agreement with Winston Avery LLC.

Amended a construction award/grant agreement with Boyers Rental properties LLC.

Authorized the execution of a $381,744 Minnesota Department of Transportation grant agreement for the Albert Lea Airport Arrival and Departure building and parking lot project. The agreement is the first of three agreements — after Saturday, there will be an amendment to the state agreement to include additional 2018 fiscal year funds and a federal agreement for federal funds. The project is estimated to cost $2.15 million, with $1 million estimated in state funds and $766,342 in federal funds. The city is estimated to pay $384,749. Work on the project is expected to start this fall and be completed in 2018.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Sam