The Wayzata City Council approved a proposal from a local business owner to install heated sidewalks along the 600 block of Lake Street by a vote of 3-2.
|Marquee Place in Wayzata. Image courtesy Hennepin County.|
Stacy Carisch of the Marquee Place, LLC requested to be allowed to install a heated sidewalk system in the public right-of-way along Lake Street as part of Phase I of the Panoway Project.
At the April 21 city council meeting, council members Jeff Buchanan, Dan Koch and Alex Pleschash voted for the project. Council member Johanna McCarthy and Mayor Ken Willcox voted against it.
"I don't think the benefits to the city are all that great," said Willcox. "Would it be nice to have? Yes, but I think the benefit of the heated sidewalk in this case is almost entirely to the benefit of the building (Marquee Place) not to the city at large."
Council member Plechash took a different view.
"I actually differ with you Mr. Mayor, if I may," said Plechash. "I do believe that part of this sidewalk is that is for the benefit of the city overall. I would agree that most of the benefit is for the block, but the Panoway Project itself also benefits more to that block than the rest of the city, so to does it benefit the city. I believe there is a portion of this that benefits the city and not just that block."
Carisch originally requested the city pay for half of the roughly $400,000 cost.
"The heated sidewalk is perfect," said Carsich. "It is right to do it."
Carisch admitted she is struggling with the economics of the project especially now. She said that
the building's (Marquee Place) margins have always been tight.
In general, city council members saw the public benefit of heated sidewalks given that the system would cut down on the use of salt and sand and be safer for pedestrians during the winter months.
There was concern about the cost as it was not budgeted and the delay in the construction project.
City staff recommended the council authorize a 25% contribution up to $100,000 toward the heated sidewalk project.
City staff noted that there is $100,000 in a construction cost contingency.
"We don't just want to do this for Marquee Place, we want to do this for the community," said Carisch.
|600 block of Lake Street is pictured. Image courtesy City of Wayzata.|