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No Poles Will Be Placed In Sidewalk

By Staff | Apr 24, 2008

Placing permanent support poles on a public walkway has come before Emmetsburg City Council twice in two months. One project was approved, the second was not.

David Kundel came to Emmetsburg City Council at the April 14 meeting requesting permission to bury support poles into the sidewalk for an emergency exit balcony. The proposed structure would be on the south wall of his building at 920 Broadway.

Kundel said the emergency exit would serve approximately ten people in five second-floor apartments. The exit balcony was proposed to be six feet wide by 100 feet in length, with the poles made of pressure treated wood.

“As I was opposed to poles on the sidewalk at Pizza Ranch, I am opposed to this project as well,” said Emmetsburg City Administrator John Bird. “Sidewalks are for residents’ safe passage.”

A month ago, the council approved a porch roof/awning at Pizza Ranch, corner of 11th and Broadway, where support poles were buried into the sidewalk. At that meeting, Councilman Pat Degen expressed concern over wood posts and City Administrator Bird pointed out that would be placing a permanent structure on public property.

Discussing the Kundel request, Council representative Pam Smith said, “You should be able to do that without protruding onto the sidewalk.”

Councilman Cory Gramowski added, “I’m not in favor of a wood fire escape.”

Kundel stressed the structure would be strictly for a fire escape, not a balcony. He estimated cost of the project at $5,000 to put in posts and pressure treated wood.

“Would you, as firemen, use the fire escape?” asked Councilman Brian Campbell.

“Not if it was wood,” answered Councilman (and volunteer fireman) Steve Finer.

“I have no problem building a fire escape, but it should be made out of metal,” said Gramowski, also a volunteer fireman.

“It could be pressure treated wood, or we could use steel,” said Kundel. “My concern is to get adequate fire escape.”

Gramowski pointed out, “You’re going to get people congregating out there if it’s six feet wide.”

“We commend the idea, but there should be a better design than this,” said Campbell.

Mayor Schad concluded, “No one here is against the idea, but you could probably come up with a better idea. The only reason it came to us (City Council) is because of the posts on the sidewalk.”

The project, as proposed, will not move forward for lack of approval by the City Council.

In other business, Theresa Saxton, chair of the Beautification Project, told the council that the trash receptacles, flower planters and benches will be arriving soon. They will be placed, at designated locations, in the downtown area within three feet of the store front. The concrete containers have aggregate river rock like the downtown sidewalks.