Albertville approves memorial for bus crash victim
The Albertville City Council authorized construction of a memorial park in remembrance of a bus crash victim.
The council also approved the assessment roll for the Interstate 94 Westbound Collector-Distributor project, and heard about improvements to the city’s website.
Staff requested the council approve a memorial park for bus crash victim Jessica Weishar, a teenager who perished at Interstate 94 in 2008 while her school bus was heading home during a road trip.
The memorial will be located at the northwest quadrant of 62nd and 63rd Street.
Staff noted that the victim’s family and some volunteer fire department members maintained a makeshift memorial at the crash site, but that with construction of the I-94 improvement project, it was necessary to remove the memorial.
Staff and fire members have conducted several meetings to develop a memorial concept that creates a setting amenable to quiet reflection and the enjoyment of nature.
The design is a butterfly garden inspired by Jessica, who was fond of butterflies and nature. It is planted with native flowering species that attract butterflies and create a rainbow of interesting colors throughout the seasons.
A patio and stone seating elements surrounds the garden, providing a place to site and view the garden and natural surroundings. Native street and shrub species surround the perimeter of the space, reflecting the existing lakeshore vegetation and improving the experience of the garden by shading seating areas and strategically blocking views to the interstate and nearby billboards.
A crushed stone path leads visitors to the memorial space from 62nd Street to the south.
Staff said the concept was designed to compliment the city’s vision for its future trail network and would serve as an amenity for a future trail system expansion.
City and volunteer forces would largely construct the memorial.
Total project costs are estimated at $11,700.
The council approved the project, with funding to be provided from working capital reserves funds.
In other news, the council conducted the public assessment hearing for the I-94 Westbound Collector-Distributor project.
Benefited properties would be assessed for a portion of the cost of the interchange improvement. The assessment roll includes 86 parcels receiving special benefit from the improvements, ranging from $41 to $448,000 per parcel for a cumulative total assessment of $945,196.
The term of assessment is 10 years from the date of assessment with an interest rate of 3.28 percent, which is 2 percent over the bond rate and consistent with past practice.
The council voted 3-1 to approve the assessments; councilor John Vetsch was opposed, citing what he said was an assessment disparity among various properties.
In related news, city administrator Adam Nafstad said the project is going well and is on schedule to open by Friday, Nov. 23 (the popular Black Friday shopping date).
In further matters, city clerk Kim Johnson updated the board about the city website.
She noted that the first phase of improvements were implemented as of Oct. 12. A web consultant was hired to update the site with staff input.
There are three phases for the project. Phase one is to improve the information for residents, such as paying bills, looking at the calendars, reviewing agendas and listing contact information. Phase two is to develop in-depth pages for each department, such as uploading documents. Phase three is to develop online forms.
In other action, the council:
AUTHORIZED staff to post the administrative assistant/accounting clerk position.
APPROVED the Otsego fire contract for a period of five years (Otsego pays Albertville for fire service).