9 thoughts on “What’s Next?

  1. First, I want to wish the Council good luck. The newest members have a steep learning curve ahead of them, so that’s going to be an early priority for them. Hopefully, with the new public access channel, Council meetings will once again be recorded. For those of us who have internet television rather than cable, I suggest the public access channels post some of their content to YouTube.

    As for what I’d like to see the Council tackle in the coming year, I suggest looking at the off-premises sign issue. Yes, I know it’s a sticky situation, but is it really better to have garage and donut sale signs on cars parked at corners? How do other communities deal with garage sale signs? That’s the place to start.

    I’d also like the Council to work on home-based businesses, in the sense of finding a way to allow and encourage businesses that enhance neighborhoods (small coffee shops that serve as gathering places) or businesses that aren’t disruptive or dangerous to neighborhoods. For example, major manufacturing shouldn’t be occurring in neighborhoods, but how about a guy producing items in his garage wood shop? In conjunction with this, the Council needs to do away with or avoid complaint-based ordinances. In the scenario of home-based businesses, we can’t have a complaint-based ordinance that allows a person in one neighborhood to have a wood shop business because the neighbors don’t mind, but a person in another neighborhood can’t have the same business because there’s a cranky neighbor who complains about it. Ordinances should be evenly enforced, rather than allowing citizens to personally decide what’s legal and what’s not.

    This is the seed of an idea that I got while handing out fliers on my street. I’m not sure it’s a City Council project or if it’s more appropriately run by another group. I noticed there were houses that had crumbling stairs and other needed repairs. Being a homeowner, I know how difficult it can be to scrape together the money and expertise to get much-needed repairs done on a house. If we want to encourage people to live in the community, we have to make sure homes are in good repair. How do we help those who can’t afford the upkeep or can’t find someone to do the odd construction job? I’m imagining an organization like Habitat for Humanity, but instead of building entire houses, the organization works on house maintenance.

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  2. Perhaps a good sign ordinance… Zoning is not a bad thing. A small woodworking shop sounds fine, but what about a small auto mechanic garage? Multiple cars in the ally or street? Not necessarily dangerous, but not good for the neighborhood either. Do you trust the city to make this type of differentiation? Perhaps micro space in the shops downtown for artisan businesses?

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    • You bring up a good point, Buddy, which is why discussion is so important. In my mind, I was thinking of fairly low-impact businesses, ones that ought to be doable with most current ordinances. There are already people with wood shops in their garages. Why can’t they make a business of something they are already doing? How about freelance writers? That’s a very low impact business in that there are probably quite a few people already doing that and no one even knows. Part of my comments on low-impact home-based businesses have to do with recognizing that they contribute to the city’s economy. How many entrepreneurs are in our midst that we don’t know about?

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  3. Little Falls needs to concentrate on getting out of debt before taking on any “new” projects. The community needs to utilize what is already available within the community. If anyone checks the Little Falls website, there are no less than 18 parks listed, which have many activities listed. Unfortunately, like all outdoor parks, they can only be used for 6 months or less out of each year. That applies to bike paths and trails, as well, unless they are for snowmobiling or 4-wheeling. A couple of the parks have rinks for skating with warming houses.

    Cathy above wants “Safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists. Trails.” The fact is, Cathy, that from what I’ve experienced in Little Falls, pedestrians fail to use crosswalks all of the time, and many of them wear dark clothing at night. They are jeopardizing their own lives. This just isn’t happening in Little Falls, but in Anywhere, USA. Perhaps the phrase “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line” applies here. As for wearing dark clothing at night…common sense dictates here.
    As far as bicycles…there are very few bicyclists that use the paths now provided in Little Falls. If they follow the rules, they should be traveling in the same direction as the cars, on the same side of the road. In my opinion, this is unsafe for the bicyclist because they aren’t able to see, or hear, every car that passes them. Cars have gotten much quieter, and helmets, for those who wear them, can obstruct hearing. Too many drunk drivers have killed pedestrians and bicyclists because they “didn’t see them coming”.
    As far as “Trails.”…they can wait until the city gets out of debt, or maybe the trails can be built with volunteers and donations.

    Volunteers…what a concept. While I was younger, I volunteered my services/tools when I felt I could be useful. In today’s world, I have found that while many seniors volunteer for various duties, the younger generations are saying “too busy”, “don’t have any time to spare”, or “I have other things to do”. Most teens’ lives are filled with sports, video games or hanging out with friends…they also need money and want to be paid. There are a few nstances that I’ve seen in the MCRecord where high school teens volunteer to rake yards in the fall, for people who have been put on a list. I find that they mostly have volunteered for yards on the east side, and close to the school. There are teens living across the road from our house that don’t even rake their own yard…why would they volunteer to rake someone else’s yard?
    I think, as a community service, the MCRecord should provide a free posting “Volunteer” section divided into 2 parts…those who need a volunteer, and those who want to volunteer. Those who need a volunteer could briefly state what would be required of the volunteer, and those who want to volunteer could list what they would be willing to do.

    I also think that people on welfare should be more involved as volunteers or doing community service because it could lead to employment.
    Best of luck for the new council…they will have a lot of issues to deal with.

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    • I like the volunteering ideas. I already do that kind of thing, um, voluntarily. But posting needs and offers is a good idea. How about on this site, Mary?

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  4. Got a comment via my Contact page that said the following:

    “The town I moved from had wonderful snow removal in the central business. There were no banks to climb over to get to the sidewalk. Why doesnt LF do that?”

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  5. Downtown snow removal is a good start. Each business should take responsibility for opening up access to the street from in front of their door. And if they don’t then… Any ideas about how to encourage all to do their part ? Somehow, just not going to those business places, doesn’t seem to be doing it. City provided and assessed shoveling? Youth clubs doing it as fundraisers–contributed to by all the businesses? Mary Warner doing it in her free time?

    Pedestrians and crosswalks. If they don’t use the crosswalk, they are a hazard to themselves and others–drivers unexpectedly stopping in the middle of a block to be courteous may get rear-ended. What’s the fix for that? But, when a pedestrian is standing at a curb waiting to step into the crosswalk, and cars don’t stop, what’s the fix for that? How about an on-going, educational , advertising campaign? Reminder signage posted near crosswalks? Arm pedestrians with paintball guns? Any other ideas?

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