Cambridge welcomes back city employee following deployment

Brad Reents and his wife Renee are joined by Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer (left) during a welcome home celebration held just prior to the Jan. 6 council meeting. Reents returned to work for the city of Cambridge that day following an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Brad Reents and his wife Renee are joined by Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer (left) during a welcome home celebration held just prior to the Jan. 6 council meeting. Reents returned to work for the city of Cambridge that day following an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

It was a celebratory atmosphere just prior to the Jan. 6 Cambridge City Council meeting as the city welcomed back employee Brad Reents.

Reents returned to work for the city of Cambridge Jan. 6 after returning home Dec. 22 from an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan as a member of the 850th Horizontal Engineer “Renegades” Company.

The 850th HEC of the Minnesota National Guard is based in Cambridge and is a horizontal construction company in the U. S. Army.

Reents, who works as a facilities maintenance technician for the city of Cambridge, was joined by his wife Renee, as well as several family members and friends, and other city employees for the gathering held just prior to the city council meeting. Cake, coffee and refreshments were served during the brief celebration.

“Last March, when we said goodbye to the ‘Renegades,’ we said goodbye to so many soldiers from this area,” Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer said. “In December, just a few short weeks ago, we very joyfully celebrated their return. As far as you could see, cars were lined up during the welcome home celebration held Dec. 22 at the high school. It was amazing to see so many people out during that celebration to welcome all of our soldiers back home.”

Palmer said the welcome home celebration was a very moving experience.

“When I watched the soldiers deploy and then return home Dec. 22, I thought to myself that this is one of those days we will remember the rest of our lives,” Palmer said. “Dec. 22 was a wonderful day, and I don’t think we will ever forget it. As I stood and watched the soldiers walk into the high school, I thought about what I’d like to say to them and that is, ‘We welcome you home, with a ton of love, thanksgiving and gratitude.’”

Regarding thanksgiving, Palmer said she is happy all of the soldiers were able to stay safe during their deployment.

“As far as love, my grandma used to say that love is the one things that always binds us together,” Palmer said. “And as far as gratitude, words can’t express our gratitude for your service to our country. With love, gratitude and thanksgiving, we welcome all of our soldiers home.”

City moves to clean up Arlington Apartments

Economic Development Director Stan Gustafson explained prior to 2008, city staff has been working with the owner of the Arlington Apartments at 100 Main St. S. to resolve some of the hazardous conditions found on the property.

Gustafson explained the city received $220,600 in March 2008 through a Small Cities Development Grant to help rehabilitate the units at Arlington Apartments. However, Gustafson explained the funding had to be returned to the state when the owner of Arlington failed to secure his required financing for the project.

Gustafson said since the close of the grant, staff has continued to work with the owner to bring several issues into compliance relating to housing, building and fire codes.

Following discussion, the council approved a resolution ordering the repair or removal of hazardous conditions located at 100 Main St. S. More than 40 items were outlined in the resolution that need to be brought into compliance within 60 days. The items were documented following a Nov. 15 inspection of the apartments. The building holds 20 units and was built in 1902.

In the housing code inspection report, it notes city staff conducted an inspection of each of the 20 apartment units as well as the common areas of the building.

The report states: “The apartments and common areas are not being maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. The carpeting is very heavily stained, ripped and torn in several areas, causing a tripping hazard, and covered by debris. The community bathrooms were filthy and there was no evidence of them being cleaned and maintained. Ceiling tiles were stained and missing in several locations, leaving the debris above uncovered and falling down. Each unit had violations of the housing code.”

City Attorney Jay Squires said the resolution is the first formal step in the hazardous building law. Squires said if the owner of the property doesn’t bring the items into compliance within 60 days, the next step is to bring the issue to court and ask for a court order to be granted for the hazardous removal.

Squires said it would take council action for the court proceedings to move forward.

Squires said if the issue goes to court and the order is granted, the city has the right to ask the court to assess all related costs regarding the issue back onto the property owner’s property taxes.

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