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My questions finally get answered

August 28, 2016
Chuck Hunt - Register Editor (cbenjamin@faribaultcountyregister.com) , Faribault County Register

There were several things I noticed about Blue Earth when I first moved to this fine city. And I have listed them in this space before, I know. But here they are again, my questions from eight years ago.

Why are so many of the streets in such bad condition? Why is there no welcome to Blue Earth sign? Why are there three buildings on a busy corner of downtown Main Street that appear to have businesses in them but are never open?

Why is there a really ugly empty building and huge awning sitting right in front of the Green Giant statue?

Why are there no roundabouts and bump outs in this town? OK, I threw that one in just to see if you were paying attention. I didn't really wonder about that.

But, I did wonder about the others.

And now, it looks like most of those things are changing right before my very eyes.

The city has been investing some serious cash into fixing up the streets, a few blocks every year. It is a commendable program. And their financial advisor agrees. He sees Blue Earth as a city that has developed a system of doing infrastructure improvements and street paving replacements that works. The plan steadily keeps doing a few more projects every year.

While the city has incurred some debt in order to do this, it also has a plan of how this debt continues to be paid off year after year.

With portions of Main Street getting the makeover this summer, some of the most used blocks in town will now be all fixed up. I know I am looking forward to not having to dodge all the perennial potholes on North Main between Leland Parkway and the Blue Earth River bridge near the fairgrounds. Know what I mean?

It also looks like the city of Blue Earth could soon have two new welcome signs, on the north and south entrances to the city. Maybe later they will add ones to the east and west sides, as well. The new signs are still on track to be put up yet this fall. And I, for one, am excited to see that happen.

In fact, the city is investing in quite a few new signs, as a story in this week's issue of the Register details. Ones at the Ag Center and new business park are also included. If you do the math and total up all the costs, you can see the city is again spending some serious dollars on the signs, to the tune of about $56,000.

Signs are important, and this is money well spent.

The infamous Three Sisters buildings, which have not just bugged me but many other folks as well, are now under ownership of the county. Because the previous owners did not pay some fees and assessments, the county took them over under tax forfeiture rules.

Now the next step could be the city getting ownership of them from the county. But, as one official has questioned, "How much property should the city own?"

In this case, the plan is to quickly turn the buildings over to private ownership, and not keep them publicly owned. We hope that can happen soon, and whoever ends up owning the Sisters can finally turn them into useful, viable business buildings.

It's been a long time coming.

And then there is that building in front of the Green Giant statue.

The Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce now owns it and the plan is to tear it down shortly after the Labor Day weekend.

Hallelujah!

Now when visitors drive up to Giant Park, they don't have to circle around an old, empty gas station and wonder, just like I did, why it is there.

It certainly did not create a good impression for the thousands of visitors to the city's main attraction who stop here every year.

Of course, tearing down the old building is just a first step. The Chamber of Commerce hopes to build a brand new building on the site, which will be the Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau offices, a tourist information center, Giant Museum and much more.

That, of course, will also take some serious dollars to accomplish.

They are doing fundraising now and are off to a pretty good start. But, it is going to take some nice donations from a lot of businesses and organizations and just plain regular folks in order to get this goal accomplished.

It's easy. Write out a check and mail it to the Chamber at 113 S. Nicollet St. You can put "Giant building donation" in the memo line if you like.

I am sure they will give you a Giant-sized thank you.

 
 

 

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