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City considers plans for 'four corners'

Lead Summary
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Lori Sorenson

Just in time for Highway 75 construction to wrap up in Luverne, community leaders are making plans for a “four corners” facelift at the stoplights on Main and Highway 75.
The plan calls for small trees and shrubs, grassy green spaces, colored concrete, Sioux quartzite boulders, lighted signage and the long-awaited flag park on the southeast corner.
“The goal is to grab the attention of drivers and say, ‘This is a major intersection. Go east to Main Street,” said Luverne Economic Development Authority Director Holly Sammons.
Sammons has been working with the design committee of LIFT (Luverne Initiatives for Tomorrow) and presented the four corners plans to City Council members at their Sept. 15 meeting.
Mayor Pat Baustian praised Sammons and the LIFT design committee.
“This is a big project,” he said. “It kicks off our urban landscape design for the whole city. This is pretty neat work Holly’s doing.”
Sammons said LIFT had been working with a consultant on signage for the Luverne Loop trail, the flag park and other areas of town.
“We saw that we could touch multiple projects with continuity and cohesion through the whole community,” Sammons said.
She said the consultant had been considering ideas for the flag park, but then shifted focus to the intersection.
“LIFT saw this as an opportunity to look at all four corners at once,” Sammons said.
She said the group worked with businesses at the other three corners — Remedez, the Laundry Room and W-2 Quality Meats — to consider their aesthetic goals.
For the Laundry Room corner, grass and trees will be added at the corner and on the boulevards, with parking spots shifting closer to the building.
The Remedez corner will have only small changes, since those parking spots in front of the business are essential.
The W-2 corner will see the biggest changes, since LIFT considers the northbound traffic from I-90 to have the best potential for downtown business.
In addition to generous green space and landscaping, the corner will include a lighted sign and directional information for the downtown business district.
Sammons presented aerial and streetscape drawings of the design concepts, which she said the corner businesses have agreed to.
The property owners have agreed to grant permanent easements to the city, and in return they gain improved property that the city will maintain for them.
Sammons said the goal was for the boulevards to be complementary to the businesses, but not intrusive.
“We wanted something that tells people as they’re driving by, ‘The lights are on, someone’s home, you’re always welcome,’” she said.
Motorists from the north will see the W-2 corner signage as they’re coming down the hill, but Sammons said it’s the I-90 traffic that LIFT focused on as potential retail spenders.
The flag park design has changed several times since volunteers first started looking for ways to develop that southeast corner. The current plan calls for several lighted flagpoles, bronze oil rubbed benches, a grassy berm along the west edge, plenty of trees and shrubs and large Sioux quartzite boulders.
When the city acquired the Julia and Burdell Kruse property in July on the west edge of town, the inventory of boulders in their “Rock County Prairie Stone” was part of the deal.
Now those red stones will be incorporated in the city’s overall design plan.
“We found it to be the best use of our own resources to use these Sioux quartzite rocks,” Sammons said. “That pretty much says ‘Luverne’ more than any other design feature.”
She thanked council members for considering the design concept and said she hoped it could be implemented next year.

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