Podcast: city hall intrigue, liquor store location rumors, and more


It was just us in the studio yesterday, talking about the legal machinations at City Hall, including the rampant rumors about the location of the municipal liquor store.

We also relived last week’s Taste of Northfield and Pottermania events.

Click play to listen. 30 minutes.

Our show, Locally Grown, airs Wednesdays live at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe with iTunes. We seek your comments and suggestions


  1. kiffi summa said:

    Griff: I think it is very important to keep things straight at this time of confusion with what the “ho-tel” is going on at city hall; the comments you referenced at the beginning of the podcast , made by Victor, and the owner of the property west of Tires Plus back and forth with the mayor did NOT occur at the 7.23 special meeting, but at the previous weeks city council meeting, July 16th.
    The july 23 meeting was confusing enough as it stands……..

    July 26, 2007
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Thank you, Kiffi. My bad. I’m not sure who I talked to or when but it’s good to have people watching out for my mistakes!

    July 26, 2007
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Nfld News website at 5 pm: Memos from mayor push son’s site for liquor store

    Mayor Lee Lansing, in memos to two city administrators, not only pushed for a new municipal liquor store, but advocated for his family’s business and their interests. The memos were included in a packet distributed to city councilors and talked about at a Monday council meeting.

    I guess reporter Suzanne Rook got the data released to her before me. Dang!

    Thx to Victor Summa for the alert to the article.

    July 26, 2007
  4. kiffi summa said:

    My biggest concern re: all the issues that have arisen in recent days/weeks, is that they come at a time when there is a LOT of serious work to be done by the city/citizens, and all these events tend to put people and their actions into a “we’ll have to wait and see what comes of this”mode.

    July through September is normally when the council would be working very hard to get the budget all in order for a preliminary acceptance in September. From what I saw in watching the tape of the 7.23 special meeting, there’s not a sense of “we’re all in this together”.

    Additionally, we have a lot of work to do together, as the Comp Plan process moves forward with more input , and the writing of the Land Use regulations. Things/comments that have been made during the discussion of the development principles seem to show a deep divide still exists.

    How do we move ahead productively when there are so many fundamental , operational, ethical, concerns to deal with. Frankly, I just feel like heading up to the Lagoon for a really good movie!

    July 27, 2007
  5. John Thomas said:

    Does anyone know if all this “Liquor Store” mess eventually has to go infront of the voters, or is the city pretty much allowed to go off on thier own on this?

    Frankly, I am quite upset a the whole deal… This whole thing smells like a fish market on a hot summer day.

    I feel that the city should not be in the liquor or cigarette business.

    I do not see why the liquor store needs to be moved to another location downtown. No one has been able to explain how moving it to a location near Econo (either choice) is going to improve parking or traffic flow.

    It seems to me, that this store would take FOREVER to pay itself off, especially at a time where there are so many other things going on, and other things that are needed in our community.

    I think the most logical choice is for the city to annouce that it will be leaving the liquor business, and allow the existing store to be put up for lease. The city could own the existing building, and allow a private entity to run the business. After a 24 month transition, it could allow by ordinance, a business to open up in certain zoned areas. By comprehensive planning, it could allow two stores in our community, by ordinance.

    Personally, I would have NO heartache if a liquor store was built in that space between Cub and Target, and the store in downtown was closed. If a store was built in this location, the college students could still get to it by bus.

    Once the downtown location is closed, I think that it should be turned into a staffed “Welcome Center”, and become a key component to the “string of pearls”. There is just enough parking here, to make it a perfect spot for a tourist center. There could also be a small conference room at this location, so that groups could hold meetings. There is a big need for meeting space for small groups in this community.

    Can anyone give us hard numbers as to how much the city profited from liquor store revenues over the last few years? I would be willing to bet that it is not as profitable as one would think.

    Thanks for the questions… hoping for answers…

    -John Thomas

    July 27, 2007
  6. Scott Neal said:

    A Minnesota municipality with a municipal liquor monopoly may not submit the question of building a new liquor store to citizens. State law doesn’t require a public referendum on the subject and Minnesota law prohibits cities from conducting “advisory” referendums on these sorts of questions.

    On the other hand, it is actually fairly easy to get out of the municipal liquor business. The City Council can do it via ordinance at his own discretion.

    July 27, 2007
  7. Curt Benson said:

    The Northfield News reported today that Jerry Anderson applied for a license for a major liquor retailer off Highway 3 in Dundas. The issue was discussed at Monday’s council meeting, and will be discussed again at the August 13th meeting. (no link available)

    August 1, 2007
  8. Curt Benson said:

    So….what does this mean for Northfield? I suggest commissioning another study. And a study, studying how this potential change affects the already existing studies. And a study, studying whether the results of this study should be made public.

    August 1, 2007
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Heh. You’ve been listening to too many podcasts, Curt, where the local groaning about liquor store studies is incessant.

    August 1, 2007
  10. Curt Benson said:

    Yes, I’ve been listening.

    How hard can it be to be a consultant–to come to Northfield to “Harold Hill” us one more time? What does it take–a sharp suit? A winning smile? A disturbing lack of conscience?

    IIRC, one of the studies said that the city would net $17,000 more if the liquor store was located at the Econo Foods site instead of across the street at Lansing’s site. Really, how could one know that?

    I volunteer to make stuff like that up for the city, and I’ll do it for free.

    August 1, 2007
  11. David Ludescher said:

    I think that the City is starting to move in the right direction on the issue of consultants. Further, Ross (and the EDA) deserves(e) much of the credit.

    The Retail Strategies Task Force is a great example of how we can be our own consultants. Ross has been the driving force.

    So, Curt – take heart. We might be moving away from hiring a consultant to tell us why we hire so many consultants.

    August 1, 2007

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