Portion of James Avenue to be renamed after Eddie Cochran

Published 10:00 pm Monday, October 11, 2021

The Albert Lea City Council approved the second reading of an ordinance Monday that renames a portion of James Avenue as Eddie Cochran Street.

Cochran was a musician and performer born in the city in 1938 who is known for his contributions to rock ‘n’ roll, country and rhythm and blues. When he lived in Albert Lea, he lived in the neighborhood on Charles Street, which was once located where the city pool now sits. A car show and music festival are held now in his honor.

The name change applies to James Avenue from Frank Avenue southeast, past the area where the Pelican Breeze is parked on the shore of Albert Lea Lake and further to the city’s main lift station, the city’s impound facility and the Freeborn County Humane Society.

In other action, the council:

• Approved a conditional use permit for Albert Lea Apartments with developer Unique Opportunities for new apartments to be constructed on a portion of the Blazing Star Landing, 750 E. Front St.

Phase one of the development includes 48 apartments, 15 garage stalls, proper stormwater rendition, adequate parking and open spaces, according to city background information provided at the meeting.

The Planning Commission recommended approval of the conditional use permit wit conditions that there be proper maintenance of green space and paved parking areas and that there be no parking or storage of any unlicensed or inoperable vehicles.

Development and purchase agreements have been completed on the property, and the closing date is scheduled for Oct. 15.

• Approved converting portions of three city-owned properties into public roadway right of way for the flood mitigation, resurfacing and ADA improvement project planned on East Main Street by the Minnesota Department of Transportation in 2022.

Rigg said two of the properties are in the flood mitigation area near the intersections of East Main Street with William Street and Clark Street. These areas will be converted into stormwater ponds.

The third property is a sliver of the Blazing Star Landing site at the intersection of Garfield Avenue and East Main Street. It is needed to reconstruct the pedestrian ramp to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

• Approved ordering the preparation of feasibility reports for road improvements to be made in 2022.

Projects to be completed include the following.

– Paving 209th Street from 777th Avenue to Freeborn County Road 38 and bituminous paving and overlay of Happy Trails Lane from East Main Street to the south end.

– Reconstruction of Pillsbury Avenue from Johnson Street to Sheridan Street and Freeborn Avenue from Ramsey Street to Sheridan Street. The project also includes replacing waterman, sanitary sewer and storm sewer, along with the road, sidewalk and curb and gutter replacements.

– Bituminous mill and overlay of Hammer Road from Bridge Avenue to Sorensen Road and Richway Drive from Bridge Avenue to Garfield Avenue

– Partnering with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for reconstruction and overlay of East Main Street from Newton Avenue to Interstate 35. The road will be raised in portions of the project, and a shared user path will be added.

• Voted 6-1 to adopt the final assessments for work done for this year’s neighborhood improvement project.

The project included work on portions of Stevens Street, Wilson Street, Oakwood Terrace, David Drive, Kevin Drive, Kenneth Drive, Eunice Drive and Michaelle Lane.

Councilor Al “Minnow” Brooks was the dissenting vote and cited two assessments he did not agree with.

City Manager Ian Rigg said a majority of the final assessments for the project came in lower than the proposed assessments, except for the work done on Michaelle Lane.

• Adopted final assessments for work done on Edgewood, St. Peter, Stanley and Ulstad avenues.

Costs came in lower on this project, and thus final assessments were lower than originally proposed.

• Approved the city’s ordinance relating to animals, and particularly livestock, to allow for the use of goats for the control of various brush and weeds.

Rigg said at a previous meeting goats work well in shoreland areas, and there are various contractors specifically for this service.

• Declared Oct. 23 as Hometown Pride Fall Cleanup Day at the city’s transfer station and demolition landfill. There will be free and reduced price disposal charges for city residents. Proof of residence is required.

Brush and yard waste, household garbage and demolition debris will be free. Appliances, sofas and mattresses will be $10, and other furniture pieces are $5. Passenger car tires will be $3.

• Approved the second reading of an ordinance amending the zoning and land use map for property at 722 Fountain St. The property will now be under a diversified central district, which allows for additional parking adjacent to the property, currently used as a hair salon.

• Voted 6-1 to levy special assessments for miscellaneous delinquent water and sewer accounts and delinquent account receivable.

The assessments will be over one year at 3.01% interest.

Brooks voted against, noting he did not agree with a couple of the assessments.

• Approved turning in an application through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for a cleanup and investigation grant for six acres of property east of the property that has already been cleaned up at the Blazing Star Landing for a new apartment complex. The land would be used for additional phases of construction for the project.