Three years and counting: Northfield’s gateway is still an ugly mess

Construction debris at Hwy 3 and 2nd St. Construction debris at Hwy 3 and 2nd St.
I began complaining about the construction mess on the undeveloped parts of the corner of Hwy 3 and 2nd St. back in the spring of 2007.  I blogged about it a year later. It’s still a shithole and it became obvious again when the snow melted a few weeks ago.

Brian O’Connell, Northfield Community Development Director, updated the Council on it last summer (July 10, 2009 Friday Memo) saying “Cost estimates for site improvements yet to be installed are being obtained.”  I don’t know if he’s given any updates since then.

I’m deliberately not using the usual names and phrases (tags) of this development in this post, as I don’t want the search engines to make the association and have it be listed towards the top of a search. The current realtor is making progress on selling units and I do want the development to succeed.


  1. norman butler said:

    Give the Dirty Girls a big fat fee and a bulldozer.

    March 26, 2010
  2. John S. Thomas said:

    3 years… (walks away shaking his head).

    March 26, 2010
  3. john george said:

    Gateway? This is in the middle of town. Seems like our “gateways” are more on 19 west by St. Olaf, 19 east be Carlton, 3 south by Cub/Target and 3 north by the implement dealers. Maybe I’m just parcing things too closely. Either way, the mess really should be cleaned up. Any volunteer groups interested? Rotary? Lions?

    March 26, 2010
  4. Phil Poyner said:

    John, it could be considered a gateway to downtown, maybe.

    March 26, 2010
  5. john george said:

    Phil- Yes, and it could also be considered a gateway to Hwy. 3 north and Hwy 19 east. Seems like 5th Street is more of a gateway to downtown, but I’m just being picky.

    March 26, 2010
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Progress!  The cleanup is on the Council agenda for next Tues. See pages 6-11 of the packet pdf:

     On March 9, 2010, Highland Bank forwarded a proposal to the City that contains the following provisions: (see Attachment 1)

    • Highland Bank will complete landscaping and fencing improvements on the Phase I portion of the project, estimated at $53,861. The participating banks will reimburse Highland Bank $8,833 for the improvements.

    Staff response:

    This provision should be seen as being favorable since the fence and landscape improvements along Highway #3 and 2nd Street will improve the visual image of the project.

    • The City will install improvements to Outlot A and be reimbursed by the participating banks estimated at $36,195.

    Staff Response:

    This should be seen as being favorable since this will improve the overall condition and terrain of outlot A. These improvements will include the removal of the remaining debris on the outlot, grading, placement of topsoil and seeding. This will create an improved appearance of the outlot and blend in with the improved site condition of the developed portion of the Crossing project. The primary purpose of these improvements is to maintain the outlot during the interim period before Phase II and Phase III of the project are developed. and to enhance the marketability of the entire project.

    April 2, 2010
  7. John —
    I think you make an excellent point. Whether we like it or not, the gateways to Northfield are the highways. On my first-year move-in day at St. Olaf, I asked my roommate’s parents if they’d been downtown, and they responded, “Well you know, we drove down the main drag. What’s it called again? Highway 3? Yeah we drove out to Target; it was alright.”

    Like it or not, as you said, this (and Highway 19 from the west) is our entrance. And, in addition to being unsafe for cars and pedestrians alike, it looks like crap.

    Another consideration is that much of the Highway 3 and 19 areas that require improvement are already in the public right-of-way. The Crossing, with the exception of the land immediately adjacent to the river, is private land. And while it’s the City’s concern, it seems like this public land that’s much more visible should be a higher priority.

    April 3, 2010
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    The Council approved the agreement with Highland Bank last night.

    April 7, 2010
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Nfld News:

    The Crossing property moves closer to clean up

    The Crossing may look less like a perpetual construction site and more like a landscaped, complete project soon, after the City Council unanimously approved the terms of an amendment to the contract between the city and Highland Bank April 6. As part of the amendments, drawn up by city staff and representatives from Highland Bank, the bank will complete the landscaping and fencing improvements on the Phase One portion of the project, estimated at roughly $54,000. Highland will also reimburse Northfield for landscaping, grading and improvements the city will make to a segment of the property bordering the Cannon River.

    April 14, 2010

Leave a Reply