CITY'S GATEWAY SURVIVES DEMOLITION VOTE - COUNTY: LIMITING RIGHT TURNS WOULD END SAFETY CONCERNS; PILLARS' DEMOLITION COST ALSO FACTOR
Marisa Agha, Pioneer Press
November 19, 2002
Roseville's "Stonehenge" will stand.
In a 3-2 vote, the Roseville City Council voted Monday night to not do anything with the city gateway erected last year, at least for now.
City leaders have discussed tearing down the six monuments at the northeast corner of Lexington and Larpenteur avenues for months. The cost of repaying federal funds, demolition and salvage, totaling about $70,000, changed the mind of Council Member Tom Kough, who cast the deciding vote.
"It's a big expenditure and one that we don't need," Kough said. "I'd rather live with it."
Mayor John Kysylyczyn and Council Member Greg Schroeder, in particular, have cited concerns about safety issues created by the 15-foot pillars, initially dubbed "Stonehenge" for their likeness to the prehistoric monoliths in England. Both have argued that the monuments should come down.
"We as a city are doing something that we are not allowing anyone else to do," Schroeder said.
Ramsey County Traffic Engineer Dan Soler has told the council that the three monuments on the Larpenteur side do create "some limited visibility" for motorists turning right onto Larpenteur from southbound Lexington. Soler said that a sign restricting right turns on red would solve the visibility problem.
The county would install a sign, probably one already in stock, said Soler, who does not see problems with traffic in other directions.
After it was clear Kysylyczyn was on the losing side of the vote, the mayor urged any citizens who have accidents there to take note that the council "knowingly" took no action "if you want to take recourse against this council."
Kough countered that it was not the current council that put up the pillars.
Council members Craig Klausing and Dean Maschka, who voted with Kough and support a sign over demolition, questioned the mayor's legal position.
"Mayor, when did you get a license to practice law in the state of Minnesota?" Maschka asked.
The pillars came about after the city decided to spruce up the area in anticipation of the county's reconstruction of Larpenteur. Mostly federal dollars funded the $130,000 project. A task force and consultant helped guide the city on the effort.
The city has not received any reports of accidents there since the pillars went up, said Public Works Director Duane Schwartz.
It was unclear whether the issue would come up again.
Marisa Agha, who covers north suburban Ramsey County, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 228-2109.
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