Time to Vent

DSC00654In order to give citizens of Little Falls, Minnesota, a chance to vent about pent up issues, we’re going to open Ask Little Falls on a negative note. Our first question:

What do you hate about Little Falls?

If hate is too strong a word, what do you dislike about Little Falls?

13 thoughts on “Time to Vent

  1. Well, I just came back to the community and heard that there’s this thing about signs and stuff… but love how the community has responded with cars with garage sale signs plastered on them. It actually looks like cars are getting broken into, and folks can’t afford to replace the glass.

    Well, at least that is what it looks like to me.

    My question is, why did this become the solution? I”m not saying it’s negative, but seems like there were a few issues unresolved.

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  2. What do I hate about Little Falls? Let me count the ways …

    1. As Packer Girl said, Little Falls needs more nice restaurants, not just fast food ones. For me, it’s about diversity. Little Falls lacks diversity on all sorts of levels, restaurants being one level. LF, and Central MN in general, is too homogeneous. There is not enough cultural diversity. With cultural diversity comes new thought, new ways of doing things. There are creative people in town, but when they express themselves, most residents look at them like they’ve got two heads. Everyone is supposed to go along to get along. Follow the homogeneous majority and you’ll be just fine.

    2. There is a lack of good paying jobs in Little Falls. There is a lack of professional jobs (other than doctor or teacher). We’ve also lost most of our manufacturing jobs.

    3. There is no post-secondary institution in Little Falls. We had the Little Falls Business College at one time. It was in the old Kiewel Block, top floor, in the center of town, where the white stucco building is on Bank Square. When the Kiewel Block burned (in the 1930s, I think), we lost the Business College. Apparently, at one time there was talk of having a two-year technical college here, but, oh-no, we couldn’t have those rowdy kids in town going to school. They might cause trouble. What a crappy attitude we have toward young adults. While there are complaints about young people moving away and never returning, when the community considers them to be a nuisance and doesn’t provide decent jobs, what else do we expect?

    4. The community’s economic development efforts are focused on major industries, with very little help available to individual entrepreneurs and very small businesses.

    5. The only regular social opportunities for adults are bars, churches, and school events. If you don’t go to church, don’t have kids in school, and don’t care for bars, you’re pretty much stuck at home. Not so great for building community, eh?

    6. There is a lack of retail choices.

    7. Zoning is overly restrictive. No businesses are allowed in residential neighborhoods. If you visit the Twin Cities, part of what makes them so vibrant is the mix of businesses in their residential areas. These are places people in the neighborhood can gather and socialize.

    8. A lot of business owners in Little Falls have shop hours that serve themselves, not customers. The city seems to close down almost completely on evenings and weekends.

    9. This list is getting long, but I’ve got one more thing to hate: The bickering, dysfunctional City Council that doesn’t seem to know how to interact with citizens or seriously consider public input. Honestly, this behavior, along with being bad for the City, is embarrassing to those of us who live here.

    Do you have anything you’d add to the list? Things I’ve listed that you disagree with? Agree with? Please share.

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    • Here’s my thoughts:

      1. There used to be excellent food at a restaurant called “The Homestead”…they had the best chicken ever! I also used to love going to Anchor Inn in Bayport, MN. Too bad those restaurants are now gone. I wish there were restaurants like those or Applebee’s, Red Lobster, The Green Mill, and a good Chinese/Oriental place. At this point, I would just like a few fast food places on the west side.

      2. This would be my first complaint…the lack of jobs for a larger number of employees. Those types of jobs usually come from manufacturing jobs. We’ve lost several over the years…Munsingwear, Hennepin Paper Co., Crestliner Boats, T&O Plastics, just to name a few. From a different statistical website, about 24% of the population of Little Falls was living below the poverty level. I’m sure that some of those had more than one job. Too many are on welfare in Little Falls, reflecting that it has become known as “a welfare town”. America needs to bring back all those jobs now in China…period.

      3. As of this posting, it appears that the Little Falls School District is planning to ask the public for more money to pay for school expansion, “urgently needed repairs, overdue safety and security improvements, and interior remodeling”. when the last referendum passed and was reported in the MCRecord, instead of using that money for these types of needs, that same MCRecord reported that the school district hired 6 part-time sports teachers. Clearly, the focus is not on academics but on sports. It is my belief that these schools need to focus on academics for the welfare of the students future. They will have more stressful, more difficult times to face than we did. It’s time for learning, not playtime.

      4. If Little Falls continues with the tearing down of perfectly useful buildings in order to make parking lots, there are fewer opportunities for smaller business growth. Dewey-Radke could have been used for a Bed & Breakfast, and having been located within walking distance of a park, could have enticed visitors to use it. The same would apply to the Simonet (old Boys and Girs Club) building. It would also make a good Bed & Breakfast or an office for an attorney. At least those things would generate revenue for the city…parking lots don’t generate anything except for city expense…case in point…the new Boys & Girls Club parking lot. An extra expense that the city didn’t need.

      5. What you are looking at right now is part of the reason for the lack of socializing. I have seen, on many occassions, kids texting each other when they’re sitting right next to each other! Apparently, they are “saying” something that they don’t want anyone else to “hear”. Many people don’t have “land line” phones in their homes anymore…they rely on cellphones and text messaging. There used to be place for roller skating and other forms of entertainment that was located close to Charlie’s Pizza. I know that it eventually was one of those places of east side-west side rivalry…maybe the reason why it closed. A centrally located community center would be great if it included activities for all ages.

      6. Can’t do much about retail spaces…businesses have to be willing to move here or start a new business, however, Everytown, USA is trying to do the same…attract businesses. If we can’t get the work back from China, don’t expect much will happen.

      7. Yes, zoning can cause a home business problems, but so does the State of Minnesota requiring the collection of sales/use tax. My biggest complaint in this area is the ridiculous requirement of the City of Little Falls to require that I have 2 sets of detailed building plans, and pay for a building permit, to build a 14′ x 20′ storage building! I can build a 10′ x 12′ building without either plans or permit. I wouldn’t be building a shack like I might have done when I was 10 years old, but be built to standard building practice and have steel siding to match the house. Is there a problem with that? Sometimes, I think that it’s just plain arrogance and greed that dictates these “rules”…Or maybe it’s just more of the east-west rivalry.

      8. It’s because they are “serving themselves”. Most small businesses can’t afford to pay heating, lighting, etc. for another couple of hours or another shift. Even larger businesses have to justify the longer hours. There was a phrase stated many times during my youth…”Little Falls rolls up the streets at 5 pm”. Perhaps you could speak with the owner(s) to find out why their hours aren’t longer?

      9. Totally agree with this one, however, my number one complaint is the lack of respect for other people’s property. People who walk their dogs may claim that they are “exercising” their dog…in reality, they are letting their dog dump on someone else’s property so they don’t have to clean up their own yard. The City Council should be discussing this disgusting problem and correct it. The police dept. should be handing out tickets for people who don’t have a “doggy cleanup” bag with them while out walking their dog. Your previous post about a dog park recieved much of the same response from me.

      10. Like you, Mary, I could post many more comments, however, this is my final complaint (for this post). I had complained to the mayor previously and thought that the problem would be taken care of…it wasn’t. Every year, in the spring, I have to rake/remove rocks that the snowplow has thrown 15-20 feet into the yard. All I asked was that the snowplow driver raise the blade a couple of inches above the surface when plowing alleys that are not paved. Is that too much to ask? When I noticed that my snowblower had done the same, I raised the front off the ground using wheels. No more rocks! Now, if only the city, as well as one neighbor, would stop putting rocks in our yard.

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  3. Can I just dream aloud? After reading this so far, I envision a community center, such as can be found in some of the suburbs around the metro. These facilities are either free or low cost for residents. Many have pools with play areas for kids, exercise rooms, gyms with basketball hoops, classrooms, etc. I envision a facility where kids can go to after school, or in the evening. I see a place for seniors, small kids and families. I see space for people to have community education classes on all sorts of interests and hobbies. Yes, that would take money to build. Yes, maybe tax dollars. But I would rather see tax dollars used to build healthy, supportive communities and not be used to fund football stadiums most people cannot afford to go to, or wars we should not even be fighting. Ok, beat me up. I just went public.

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    • Grace – I’m not going to beat you up because I think we need some kind of a community center. I’d also add space for meetings and conventions, kind of an all-purpose building that can serve as a gathering place for residents but also allow us to invite people from outside the community for indoor events.

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  4. Well said, Mary! We miss so many stores that used to be downtown. Old timers are still talking about the City Council that turned down the Tech College. It was a short-sighted decision. I imagine that in a few years, this City Council will also be discussed in those same terms. The well-known catchphrase of the 90’s “proactive not reactive” was apparently missed by every single one of them.

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  5. Yes again the city council was short sighted when they decided to tear down the old High School. Where we lived before they took an old school and rented rooms to artists for studio space, a Montessori School, Yoga classes, Scouts, and a variety of other other groups used it. It was always filled.

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  6. Pingback: Share the Love | Ask Little Falls

  7. I could be wrong, but I believe that the School District owned the Old High School/Central Office property? Or perhaps they deeded it to the City at one point? I’m not 100% sure that we can blame the City Council for that one. The City Council did, of course, authorize the demolition of the Dewey Radke House, which could also have housed artist space and there could have been a plan to make good use of the building. Again, it seemed like another knee-jerk reaction.

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  8. It is my experience that Little Falls is not overly friendly to outsiders. One which talks about change, but elects the same ideas. It needs to grow in order to have the tax base and the population to support its willing art community. Landing a few companies which employ 200 people would help, +/- 400 families would drive housing, taxes and community resources. Just my opinion.

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    • We were just talking about this at a meeting. One lady said she has lived here 45 years and is still considered an outsider. I think this is true of many small towns. Even larger towns where there are people who never leave their little area of the big city. I did not know that we lost the Fallsburg cabinet making company. We are losing companies and not gaining any new ones!

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