Council keeps Fleet Farm moving forward

Plans to bring a Mills Fleet Farm to Cambridge keep moving forward.

During the Cambridge City Council meeting Monday, Sept. 17, the council approved the actions taken at the Cambridge Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 5.

Bruce Buxton, project engineer for Mills Fleet Farm, appeared before council seeking approval of several action items to allow them to open a store in the former Lowe’s building, located on the east side of Cambridge.

Following discussion and presentation by Fleet Farm, the council approved the preliminary and final plats, a request to vacate a portion of drainage and utility easements, a conditional use permit request and a sign variance request.

Buxton explained Mills Fleet Farm is looking at remodeling the existing Lowe’s facility. He noted the east side of the building will be remodeled for the auto service station.

Fleet Farm will also purchase an additional five acres to the north of the existing property for an open yard merchandise sales floor. Additional land will be purchased south of the property for a convenience store and fuel station and an automated car wash.

“I would just like to commend the staff here in Cambridge for working with us on this project,” Buxton said. “I’ve worked with Marcia Westover, Lynda Woulfe, Stan Gustafson and Carri Levitski, and you all have been wonderful.”

When questioned on a time frame for an opening date, Buxton informed the council it will take some time. He explained Fleet Farm is still working on the final design for the remodeling of the Lowe’s building.

Buxton explained the Cambridge store is only the second Fleet Farm will open in an existing building. The only other store they opened in a remodeled building was in Owatonna.

Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer asked Buxton if Fleet Farm will have a silo. Buxton noted the Cambridge store will, but it will not house restrooms as in other stores.

Buxton explained Fleet Farm is a family owned business with 84-year old twin brothers Stewart C. Mills, Jr., and Henry C. Mills, II, currently owning the business. He explained two of Stewart’s children, Stewart Mills III and Marisa Mills, as well as two of Henry’s children, Charlie Mills and Andrew Mills, will eventually take over the family business.

Mills Fleet Farm has been serving the Upper Midwest since 1955 and has 31 locations across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota, with it most recent store opening in Carver, Minn.

Runway lighting system

Public Works Director Steve Wegwerth explained the precision approach path indicator (PAPI) system for the Cambridge Municipal Airport was damaged in a storm in July 2011 when it got struck by lightning.

The PAPI system is a lighting system that lets pilots know where they are at on the runway. He said it directs the pilots where they need to go if they are not on course. Wegwerth said he informed the pilots when the PAPI system was damaged.

Replacing the PAPI system will improve the safety of planes landing in Cambridge.

Total project cost is $83,180 of which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will pay $69,209, MnDOT will pay $4,396 and the city of Cambridge will pay $9,574.92.

The city of Cambridge has funds available in its airport capital improvement fund, accumulated from fuel sale profits. Following discussion, the council approved a motion to replace the PAPI system.

City Center Mall upgrades security cameras

City Planner Marcia Westover discussed the need for additions to the security system in City Center Mall during the Cambridge Economic Development Authority portion of the meeting.

The proposal is to use the existing cameras, add additional cameras and add larger storage capacity. This will provide video coverage for more areas while still being able to retain the video for a number of months. Westover explained it will enhance the safety in the mall and provide added resources for the police should they need to conduct an investigation into an incident occurring in the mall.

The system currently used by the police department was installed and is maintained by Marco. Westover explained the city only received one bid for the project in the amount of $20, 255. The total bid includes the installation and labor for the new cameras, cable conversion, and storage upgrade for the existing system to the 16 analog option.

Westover explained the $20,255 has been included in the project budget for capital improvements for City Center Mall.

EDA members also discussed a need to place cameras in the parking lot. Following discussion, the EDA approved a motion to spend an amount not to exceed $23,000 for the entire project, while adding outside cameras for the parking lot. Staff will work with the police department, as well as Marco, to best decide where to place them.