Concerns that have been voiced by Colonywood Apartments resident Paul Seidenstricker on the College Drive project appeared again Monday during the open forum portion of the Brainerd City Council meeting.
Seidenstricker of Anda Construction said drainage problems, safety for pedestrians and no signage to assist his renters in getting to his property are just some of the issues he would like to the city resolve as they pertain to the construction on College Drive.
"We have quite a bit of sludge in my pipes ... students are still crossing the road daily without a crosswalk in unsafe conditions ... and there are no signs to get to my property for either prospective or current tenants," said Seidenstricker. "It would be nice to get some cooperation from the city and have some of these problems resolved."
Joining Seidenstricker at the podium was Adam Ripple, attorney for apartment complex owners Roger and Betty Anda. The Andas are suing the city of Brainerd over the College Drive project, and Ripple said the same concerns and issues are being seen by the Andas.
But due to the legal issues and the sensitivity surrounding the lawsuit, Brainerd City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick urged the council to not publicly address or discuss the issues brought forth during the open forum.
"We have litigation going on and because of that, we can not resolve this right now in a public forum," said Fitzpatrick. "If it's a problem and the fact finders agree that we (the city) are responsible for it, it will be a part of damages, but again we just found out about these today as well."
Brainerd City Council President Mary Koep asked Fitzpatrick how long he thinks it could take to resolve these issues to which he asked her how long does she think it should take?
"One day," Koep responded. "They have renters over there who have water and mud in their apartments and I've been told that the city has had some position that is going to take care of it and yet this is an issue, so why is it being treated differently especially since these are issues separate from the domain issue in courts."
Fitzpatrick interrupted Koep repeating his concerns for council members to remain quiet on the issue in a public setting.
"I want to formerly go on record that I have to caution you again," he said. "We are in active litigation and the comments you're (Koep) making, in my legal advice, should be made in closed session and I urge the council not to have further discussion of this in an open session.
"Ignoring this advice could end up costing you (the city) money."
Mayor James Wallin spoke up suggesting that discussion on the College Drive project be put to an end but council member Bob Olson addressed the issue.
"I have this (topic) on our (Brainerd Safety and Public Works Committee) agenda and it certainly is something that needs to be talked about," said Olson. "I met with (Brainerd City Engineer) Jeff (Hulsether) and we talked about all that's going on.
"There are things that the public needs to know."
Before Olson could continue in detail council member Lucy Nesheim motioned for recess which was quickly seconded by Kelly Bevans and the topic was closed.
Following the regular meeting, the council met in a closed session to further discuss the College Drive litigation.