There was lots of new business for the Norwood Young America city council to discuss on May 24. Among the items was a quote for the Young America mural and the approval of the 2nd Avenue improvement project and lift station. One item in old business was a review of new COVID protocols, since many protocols were lifted as of May 28.

The first thing on the agenda was the discussion of the new COVID protocols. The first decision was whether or not the meetings would continue to be in hybrid format. Council determined that some members of other commissions were still Zooming in for the meetings due to not being fully vaccinated. Thus, it would make sense to allow for the hybrid format through June and make a decision depending on progress at the end of June.

As far as masks, mayor Carol Lagergren suggested that they follow the Carver County Government Center. This means if the Government Center no longer requires masks, neither will NYA City Hall. Public services also had a question for the council: what about employees entering homes? Council suggested that employees still wear masks when entering someone’s home, and to not enter if the homeowner was confirmed to be infected.

Finally, the pool has received some new requirements. With the old requirements expiring, it was time to adjust. Council decided that social distancing would still be encouraged indoors, and the plexiglass will remain as well as the questionnaire. Masks won’t be required so long as distancing is still in place. Otherwise, reservations and tickets can still be purchased online at cityofnya.com for anyone wanting to swim this year.

City administrator Steve Helget confirmed with Lagergren that the rental buildings would be opened up to 100 percent once more. Since it’s within guidelines from the state, rental buildings are fully open once again, and serving food and drink no longer has restrictions from COVID.

With that finished up, council moved onto new business. The first big item was the quote for the 2nd Avenue projects. William Mueller and Sons was the low bid on both the improvement project and lift station bid. The bid was about 16 percent lower than the engineer’s estimate, totaling $1,112,673 million. It was recommended to approve this amount.

Lagergren asked what the total cost of the project, since there is still some separate equipment to purchase as well as the Oak Lake improvement. Jake Saulsbury from Bolton and Menk estimated that the total of the 2nd Ave project would be about $1.5 million and Oak Lane adding on another $800,000. However, bids are still taking place and the good news is so far all projects are coming in under estimate.

Council approved the Wm Mueller and Sons bid unanimously. Construction is planned after July 4, though may start earlier in late June if able.

On to more fun news, Young America is getting its own mural this year, as historic downtown Norwood did last year. Karen Hallquist, Economic Development Marketing Director, presented the quote to the council.

City staff reached out to two artists: Lana Beck, who painted the mural on the Norwood side, and Ashley Williams, who is having her art students at Central High School paint a mural in the 212 tunnel. Both artists were given requirements for the mural, including a representation of Stiftungsfest, Singer’s Hall, Old America City Hall, and the Cardinals, as well as incorporating the mural with the 1947 memorial board.

Williams was unfortunately not able to submit a quote and sketch by May 19 due to other obligations. Beck submitted a sketch, proposing a “vintage baseball, German heritage themed mural”. She quoted $7800 for the supplies. She estimated 70 hours of work to be done in two weeks depending on the weather. Staff would have to apply the sealant and prime the wall in preparation, which would cost $1000 for the city.

Council approved the quote unanimously. The mural is planned to be painted on the back of the grandstand at Willkommen Memorial Park. The sketch and design is going to be passed around to the Economic Development Committee, Baseball Committee, and Stiftungsfest Committee for tweaks before returning for final approval by the city council.

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