Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Orr council talks highway safety and crime

Crystal Dey
Posted 7/11/19

ORR -- City officials’ minds focused on public safety Monday night as the council discussed traffic concerns and crime.

Mayor Joel Astleford said local business owners had voiced concerns about …

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Orr council talks highway safety and crime

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ORR -- City officials’ minds focused on public safety Monday night as the council discussed traffic concerns and crime.

Mayor Joel Astleford said local business owners had voiced concerns about traffic speeding through the city on Highway 53. Orr’s south entrance between Highway 23 and Nett Lake Road was identified as an area needing additional monitoring. Currently, northbound traffic has a 60 mph limit while the southbound lane contrasts at 30 mph.

The council discussed multiple options including enforcing a no-passing zone with signage and painted lines, warning and “reduce speed” signs, flashing lights on existing 30 mph signs and electronic signs displaying drivers’ speeds

“I think, I don’t know how much a flashing light is, but it does get your attention,” Astleford said.

A “Your Speed is…” sign could cost the city $4,000, according to a quote from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Councilman Bruce Black voiced concern there could be additional costs to run electrical wiring to a sign. Councilwoman Ericka Cote proposed that a solar-powered light may be a less costly alternative. The council tabled the item pending further research.

An addition to Monday night’s agenda also highlighted citizen safety. Astleford said he was approached during the July 3 weekend by residents interested in forming a neighborhood crime watch.

During the meeting, councilors noted law enforcement can be up to 30 minutes away at times and there have been break-ins in the community. Councilman Lloyd Scott suggested the county may need to allocate additional resources to the Orr area.

“One deputy can’t cover this area,” Scott said.

Organization of a neighborhood crime watch will be reviewed and revisited by the council at a later meeting.

In other action, the council:

Approved the 2018 city audit, waiving an actuarial study which would cost the city up to $3,000.

Passed a resolution authorizing the city to accept MnDOT funds for roadside landscaping between Highways 23 and 53.

Entered into an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to receive a floating dock for a public water access on Pelican Lake in Orr.

Accepted a $100 donation to the Orr Area Ambulance.

Approved a gambling permit for the American Legion Post 480 for a drawing on Oct. 12.

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