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Windom council approves plan for Matthew Drive

WINDOM -- A controversial issue that has some citizens upset with the Windom City Council brought Matthew Drive residents to a public hearing Monday night to voice their opinions on what should happen with the road.

WINDOM -- A controversial issue that has some citizens upset with the Windom City Council brought Matthew Drive residents to a public hearing Monday night to voice their opinions on what should happen with the road.

The meeting ended with the council voting to install eight inches of gravel on the road, which means the council will open what has previously been used as a privately maintained dead-end street. A "through" street will soon run from Kalash Drive to Cottonwood County 15.

The issue began when plans arose to build a home on Matthew Drive, a road that was platted but never officially opened. Officials said that street access must be provided in order to build a home.

Despite opposition from Matthew Drive residents, the council decided to improve the current road, rather than vacate it -- the option most of the residents preferred.

During Monday night's meeting, residents came forward to let the council know what they preferred.

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"Keep in mind, this is not a hearing for or against vacation," Mayor Tom Riordan cautioned those present. "We have already decided that."

Matthew Drive resident Tom Farrell spoke first, telling the council the property owners had clearly stated their opposition, petitioned to vacate and been voted down, but now wanted to ask that the least costly option for the improvements be chosen.

There were three options, with the first two using a bituminous surface and each having an estimated cost of more than $200,000. The estimated cost on option three, the gravel road, is $85,980.

Several Matthew Drive residents spoke to the council, each urging them to choose the least costly option.

Lita Hottel told the council she was not in favor of any of the options, asking it vote no to all three and do "what the people want."

"People are talking about how you aren't representing the people of Windom," she said, adding the upcoming election would show them how the citizens of Windom felt about the council's leadership.

After a discussion of how assessments for sewer and water may be handled, Hottel again spoke her mind, asking why the council would bother to ask for the opinion of the homeowners on that subject.

"It is an exercise in futility," she declared. "No one is listening now."

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Riordan explained the decision to improve Matthew Drive was for the public good.

"It is where the city wants to grow," he said. "We need to think long term."

After closing the public portion of the meeting, Riordan said they could, indeed, vote no on all three options and go back to the drawing board.

The motion to go ahead with the third option was made, seconded and approved. One council member, Kirby Kruse, voted against the decision.

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