The city of Columbus is in the final stages of allowing a Loves Travel Center to be constructed at 15400 block of Hornsby Street, on the southeast side of the I-35 and Highway 97 intersection. 

The Columbus City Council met on Thursday, Nov. 12, to discuss it and voted on allowing the truck stop and convenience store a preliminary plat — the to-scale drawing of the design for the construction project. 

Board member Shelly Logren mentioned that she thinks the new Loves Travel Center will be built well and represent Columbus. 

“Loves has an enormous sign and it’s going to brand Columbus,” Logren said. “Loves is a statement and I really don’t have a problem. I think you have great buildings and that everything is really tasteful.”

However, Logren also brought up the need to have the truck stop and convenience store shielded from view of the highway. She discussed adding a form of screening with possibly trees or shrubbery and suggested it could look more like a truck plaza instead of a truck stop.  

“If you want people to think it’s a plaza — and I want them to think it’s a plaza; I want them to think of the whole area as a plaza — then you can’t look like a truck stop,” Logren said. “I just want it to look nice when you come up there and then when you are getting on the off-ramp, you’ll see your nice building and a place for the cars, and it will be welcoming.”

The representative from Loves Travel Center stated that they plan on blocking the rows of trucks with evergreen trees, and after the request for an artist rendering from the council they will present that in the final plat to the council at a later date. 

After the discussion, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the preliminary plat. 

City website upgrades

Jessica Hughes, the Columbus public communications coordinator, explained the city will be updating its website with the help of GovOffice. 

The city will be doing a one-time upgrade to its website, and Hughes said this is not normally something that GovOffice is able to do. However, because of COVID-19 and so many others receiving funding, they are offering this one-time upgrade for cities looking to revamp their websites. 

The money the council is using comes from the funds received through the Minnesota Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act. 

Hughes stated that the new website will be easier for residents to navigate but also easier for city staff to put information on. Hughes also stated that the website will also be much faster for those trying to access it. 

“Your computers at home will be able to download this new website much quicker than you can actually download our current website,” Hughes said. 

The cost for the website will include a one-time payment of $900 and then the city will be responsible for an annual fee. 

The Columbus City Council will meet again on Monday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m.

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