West side building and business owner Dean Kjerland emailed me a copy of what he sent to the City of Northfield today:
I am a long time advocate of The Key. Unfortunately, some young people hang around a good thing and give it a bad name. I have a good relationship with the Key, we are neighbors and maintain a positive dialog. I have an art gallery near and live by The Key in my building which is another unique Northfield place and I get many ‘new to Northfield folks’ stopping in. I am also very connected with the downtown.
I repeatedly hear comments about the ‘skateboarders’ who congregate in this area and create an environment which people would prefer to be someplace else from. Since the City has decided that skateboarding is not acceptable on the public sidewalks and riverwalk area, I believe action should be taken to effectively enforce the Ordinance in effect. This has been a problem for a long time.
I think it is unfair to blame The Key. What I would like to see is a determined effort to keep this activity from continuing in the neighborhood. It definitively effects me and my businesses. I know it effects my neighbors. And I agree that with limited budgets, it is stretching the resources of the Police Dept. I believe we must have support from Mayor and the City Council and I am asking that all join in effecting change over here on the west side.
I would appreciate having this forwarded to Jim Pokorney, Kris Vohs, Mayor Lansing, Chief Taylor, Joel Walinski and Brian O’Connell. This has gone on too long without amelioration. I expect responses about specific action. We are all in this together, if anyone disagrees, please, I would like to hear from them. If anyone wants documented evidence, I would welcome either funds or the loan of equipment to do so…
Sincerely, Dean Kjerland
One year ago I blogged about the problem of people bicycling on downtown sidewalks. A robust discussion ensued but as far as I can tell, nothing has changed. College students and adults continue to be the biggest offenders.
We now have a new police chief. We have a new non-motorized transportation task force. We will soon have a new mayor. We have four council races this fall.
Maybe this is an opportunity for some of these folks to step up to the plate to help solve both problems: illegal bicycling and illegal skateboarding downtown.