City Council Briefs

Published on Thu, Nov 28, 2002
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City Council Briefs

Blaine city council members made it clear they want city manager Gary Tomsic to continue his efforts to secure use of the Blaine train station for the city. “I think it’s so critical to our tourism development. I hate not to pursue it,” said council member Bruce Wolf at the November 25 city council meeting.

City manager Gary Tomsic explained that his request to Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) for an arrangement through which the city could use or lease the building as a museum and visitor center had been forwarded to a real estate company managing the property. In her response, Carol Sanders of The Staubach Company said the city could buy the building but it would need to be moved off the property and the city would need to fence the site.
“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” said John Liebert. “I think this person needs to come and talk to council. Why would it need to be fenced with the building gone? It isn’t now.” Mayor Dieter Schugt asked if the historic value of the building would help the city protect it for public use. “”We really don’t have anything like a historic sites designation, but we can certainly put something together,” Tomsic said.

Tomsic said he had hoped the railroad would want to work with the city to maximize use of the building. “I know that other communities and the railroad have worked something out. We have to look no further than White Rock,” he said.

Council directed Tomsic to approach BNSF again. “When they came to us asking to increase train speeds through town they said they were anxious to work cooperatively. Let’s give them an opportunity to cooperate. If it’s a liability or a maintenance problem we can handle that.”

Blaine wastewater treatment plant operator Frank Arnett has started asking local businesses to pledge themselves to careful waste handling, and they’re signing up in droves. “I’m really proud of our businesses in Blaine,” he told city council. “One day we went out and surveyed four businesses and they all agreed to sign up.” Mathers Mower Services, Ron’s Auto Service, Pelican Press and TC Transport are the first Blaine businesses in the program.

The Business Pledge Partnership brings together state county and local agencies and matches volunteers with businesses to develop management practices for everything from recycling to what goes down their drain. “I never realized you can’t just toss a fluorescent tube in the trash,” Arnett said. “It’s hazardous waste.”

After an initial survey businesses are given a to-do list and sign a pledge to stick to it. “You do get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing you’re not polluting,” Arnett said, adding that good waste management also saved many companies money.

From the city’s point of view there is a very concrete advantage to the program. “We get to make sure stuff doesn’t go down the drain to our plant that shouldn’t,” Arnett said. “One of the ways to keep out plant running is to beat it at the source.”

Blaine public works director Grant Stewart said there was now a four-way stop in place at the intersection of Peace Portal Drive and Blaine Road. “This joint effort between city and state government began as a result of concerns expressed by residents,” he said. The state department of transportation installed the signs November 25. .

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