LITTLE FALLS - The Little Falls City Council will vote Monday on dismissing a lawsuit it has with the state.
The lawsuit is over a law that restricts the city from selling or leasing four of its properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which includes the two mansions on Linden Hill.
The city filed a lawsuit against the state in July stating that the legislation is unconstitutional since it is a special law that deals only with Little Falls.
The city council discussed the lawsuit Monday with its new city attorney, Toni Wetzel, in its planning meeting. Wetzel said the best thing the city can do is dismiss the lawsuit and have Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, and Rep. Al Doty, DFL-Royalton, appeal it.
Monument to be added at Veterans Memorial Park
LITTLE FALLS - The Morrison County Veterans Memorial Park in Little Falls will have an expanded look this spring.
The Little Falls City Council on Monday gave its approval to the Park, Recreation and Tree Board to expand the memorial park to add a monument that would include names of Morrison County soldiers who fought or are fighting in the war in Iraq.
Judi Ficek of the Veteran Memorial Committee said Little Falls had a soldier killed in the war, Anthony T. McElveen, and they want to have a memorial in the park to honor him and others soldiers, dead or alive, who fought in the war.
The expansion would include adding additional bricks, panels and walkways to the park.
The American Legion will pay for the expansion through money earned selling memorial bricks for $125 each. The bricks would be engraved with the soldier's name and branch of service.
- Jennifer Stockinger
Wetzel recommended the option as it would be easier to have the legislators fight the law than for the city to go to court with the issue, which would cost more money. Wetzel said that if the city later decides it wants to sue the state, they still have the right to file the lawsuit a second time.
If the city council doesn't dismiss the lawsuit, Wetzel said the city can litigate the case or delay it. However, Wetzel said these options are more costly.
Wetzel said the lawsuit between the city and the state is unusual because the city is not asking for money. Rather, it is asking the court to rule on the constitutionality of the law.
"There is not your normal black-and-white case," Wetzel said. "This case would be better solved in a different way. Give the legislators a chance to do their job."
Little Falls Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem and council member Brian Crowder both agreed that the legislation fulfilled its purpose in stopping action from on the two mansions on Linden Hill.
Wetzel said, "They did what they thought was right and I'm not going to argue that."
Wetzel also discussed the portion of the bill that states that the city must notify the Minnesota Historical Society and wait at least two years for it to conduct a study on the best use of the property, how to preserve the historical value and to ensure public use before it sells, leases or contracts the properties.
Wetzel said that, in her opinion, the city must go through this process every time it takes action on a property. She said this part of the bill restricts the city with what it decides to do with the mansions.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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