Chatfield Center for the Arts Board president gives report to city council

By: 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

The Chatfield Center for the Arts Board president, Carla Gallina, presented the center’s annual report to the City Council during its Monday, May 13, meeting.

Gallina shared financial information and noted the 2019 budget is 128 percent higher than the 2018 budget.

“We’ve learned a lot about budgeting – there were some surprising utility expenses, some mechanical expenses with the chiller going down,” Gallina said.

She outlined where revenues had come from, citing that 58 percent came from events and that another 24 percent came from partnerships with the city, Wits’ End Theatre (WET) and the Chatfield School District.

“Building usage and the number of events – we’re pretty proud and excited about the way it’s being utilized…our Potter Productions, the Legion Room, Chatfield Schools, community outreach or programs that are free to the public, the city of Chatfield and regional nonprofits,” she listed.

City Clerk Joel Young pointed out that Gallina included with her report a chart showing where the nearly 8,000 CCA visitors came from, with quite a few traveling from outside southeastern Minnesota to reach Chatfield.

Gallina submitted, “I’m not here to ask for anything. I’m here to thank you for the support and contributions and to share who we are and what we do.”

Councilor Mike Urban remarked that Gallina had presented to the economic development authority (EDA) a lengthy schedule of events slated to take place this year, some of them quite distinguished.

Gallina agreed, “We’re pretty much booked every weekend. We’re pretty proud of our utilization. We’re working to hire a full-time person who can staff the building all day, every day, and we’re requesting grant funds for that which will help supply that person.”

Mayor Russ Smith observed, “My goal was to get people that people have heard of to come here to Chatfield, and Al Stewart and Leo Kottke didn’t go to Rochester. They came to Chatfield.”

Gallina agreed, “We’re really focusing on bringing in high-quality shows, really focusing on the quality of the artists we’re bringing in. That’s the reputation we want to build.”

Urban contributed, “It truly takes a village to run that place, because 90 percent of the work is done by volunteers.”

EDA report

Next, EDA Director Chris Giesen updated the council on efforts to clear the titles for parcels included in the Twiford redevelopment lot. The EDA and city are working to sell that lot to Golden Warriors, LLC, for the construction of a Dollar General store to be completed by the end of this year.

He related that there was a tax-forfeited parcel within the collection that needed to be conveyed back to Olmsted County in order to proceed with assembling the entire lot. Olmsted County valued the parcel at $2,600 and has offered it to the city and EDA for that amount. If the lot were to be used for public purposes, it would simply be conveyed back to the EDA and city, but because it will be sold to a private owner, it has to have a price tag.

The councilors chose to buy the land from the county and approve the transfer.

Planning and zoning

City Planning and Zoning Coordinator Kristi Trisko came before the council with recommendations to proceed with allowing the construction of a townhome at 403 Winona Street, the site of a house fire late last year.

She said the planning and zoning committee had reviewed the new owner’s site plans and found it satisfactory in that it includes plenty of open space on each side of the lot.

She stated, according to the owner, the 2,300 square-foot twin homes have received the attention of nine senior citizens who wish to have the opportunity to purchase one of the units, and the only hitch before allowing construction is adjusting the zoning to R-2 to accommodate the twin home usage. The council obliged.

Other business

Councilors then approved pay estimates for the new municipal swimming pool’s construction – one for Benike Construction at $370,904.81 and another for Ricchio at $416,267. Councilor John McBroom commented, “The pool is starting to come together…it’s going to be a nice place to be.”

City Maintenance Supervisor Brian Burkholder brought forward a new quote for the speed signs that will be placed on Hillside Drive to the intersection of Enterprise Drive – the original quote was approximately $5,250, but with the omission of some accessories, the purchase had to be rebid and came out $29 more for the signs that have been purchased from Traffic Logic.

Urban gave the public works report encompassing seasonal help, street light proposals and mill and overlay of streets, but no action items.

Smith read two proclamations – the first for Muncipal Clerks’ Week, which was May 5 through May 11, and the second, for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, which is this week. He and the councilors commended the staff and volunteers who make those parts of the city function.

Young reported that the citywide cleanup garnered over 75 tons of unwanted items – the bill stood at $16,482.55 for nearly 33 tons from the Olmsted County side of town and 44 tons from the Fillmore County side of town. Smith acknowledged that it could have been a much larger tonnage and bill, but that “a lot of stuff left town not in Bill Hanson’s garbage trucks,” as curb-surfers scavenged for items of interest.

Lastly, Urban reminded residents to heed the warnings about detours on Highway 52 during construction so that the work can be completed more quickly.

Councilor Pam Bluhm was pleased to announce that the city’s float has been updated and was expected to go through two parades this past weekend.

The consent agenda included approving a bingo and raffle permit at St. Mary’s Catholic Church for Aug. 11 and Nov. 17, accepting the Olmsted County maintenance agreement and approving the ATV trail maintenance resolution.