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News from the week of August 8, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Vision offered for revitalized Tracy downtown

What could a revitalized Downtown Tracy look like?

Tracy civic leaders got a glimpse Monday night.

Fred Sabongi, a historic preservation and downtown revitalization specialist from Eagan, unveiled a vision for Tracy's future at a two-hour planning workshop held at the Mediterranean.

Drawings showed Tracy's traditional business district softened with brick walkways, gently protruding crosswalks, new streetlights, park benches and planters. Colored fabric awnings supplanted stark metal coverings. The artist's pen opened up long ago boarded-up windows with new glass. Barriers and greenery camouflaged vacant lots

“Which do you think is more inviting and welcoming?” Sabongi asked, comparing a current photo of Third Street with the artist's conception. “Which buildings will be more likely to attract new businesses? If you own one of those buildings, how much more valuable will your building be after it is restored?”

Earlier this year, the City of Tracy hired Sabongi Consulting Group, Inc. to draft a master revitalization plan for Downtown Tracy. Areas along Craig Avenue (Hwy. 14), South Street, and some of Tracy's parks are also included in the study.

“So what do you think?” Sabongi asked. “Is this all outrageous? Is this too far out? Do you want to leave everything the way they are? Or do you want to go on?”

“We have to go on,” responded Steve Ferrazzano, Tracy City Council member.

“It looks great,” said George Hebig, president of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce.

Sabongi said that not everyone likes change. “Some people will say, that's the way it's been for the last 100 years, it's fine the way it is.” However, Sagongi added, change is a part of life. As economic and social conditions change, so must a town's commercial district adapt.

Spiritual journey

Backpackers return from trek to Wyoming's Wind River Mountains

Dani Jones kept looking up.

The mountain slope continued unmercifully upward. An 11,800-foot summit beckoned impossibly in the distance.

Jones and 22 other Tracy hikers had trekked through mountain woods for hours. Exhausted and hungry, Jones glimpsed an open vista ahead.

She pushed into the clearing.

Whoosh! A sudden burst of high wind bowled over the Tracy Area High School sophomore. She was knocked flat on her back.

“Wind is something we've never encountered before on these backpacking trips,” observed Pastor Steve Olson, the hikers' leader. The Tracy Lutheran Church group returned from a 10-day backpacking trip to the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming Sunday.

Wind was such a factor, he said, because the group hiked above the tree line. In the mountain pass where Dani tumbled, the winds blew at 50-70 miles per hour.

Public hearing set for proposed Downtown Tracy funeral home

A funeral home business has been proposed in the former Almlie Furniture building in Downtown Tracy.

Michael D. Johnson is seeking a special use permit to operate a funeral home within the Central Business District. The Tracy Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the special-use permit request Monday, August 20, 6:30 p.m., at Tracy City Hall.

Johnson is employed by the Ranfranz Funeral Home in Rochester. On July 27, he met with the Tracy Economic Development Authority to discuss his hopes to start his own funeral home business in Tracy. Johnson said he wanted to purchase and remodel the former Almlie Furniture building and use it as a funeral home.

The former furniture building, Johnson said, can easily be remodeled for a funeral business. The remodeling would include a new front to the building, he said.

Dog show winners named

By Dave Brakke

Both humans and dogs weathered the sultry conditions Monday night to compete in the Lyon County Fair 4-H dog show. Heat and humidity created stressful conditions for contestants and their dogs, but the show continued as planned.

Show categories included four-dog team obedience, junior and senior showmanship, and five different difficulty levels of obedience. The champion four-dog obedience team award went to a group of girls from Stanley Township Busy-Beavers, Stacy DeBaere, Emily Hansen, Cory Kumerow, and Megan Kumerow

Champion junior showmanship honors went to Busy-Beaver Emily Hansen. Junior obedience champ and champion brace obedience awards went to Busy-Beaver Megan Kumerow. Busy-Beaver Derek Devos won the champion senior obedience award.

Reserve awards went to Tracy Comet Jackie Coulter and Busy-Beaver Kelli Louwagie for junior obedience and Busy-Beaver Kevin DeBaere for senior obedience.

Another dog show is planned for the county fair on Saturday at 5 p.m. Judged classes will include best-groomed dog, best costume, best trick, and agility.

School remodeling will level off kindergarten room sunken steps

Tracy Area Public Schools Kindergarten classrooms will have a new look this fall. Tracy Board members approved renovation of the classrooms upon the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Rick Clark at the Board's July 23 meeting. The classroom “pits” are being filled and the classrooms will be re-carpeted.

The pits in the Kindergarten classrooms were innovative at the time the elementary school was built in 1971. The pit is about four feet deep and descends with stairs. Principal Scott Loeslie stated that he loved talking to Kindergarten students in the pit because he “could stand and be at their eye level.” Loeslie thinks that Kindergarten teachers will miss the pits but welcome the additional space they will have without the pits.

“It's amazing how much bigger those rooms are now that the pits are filled,” Loeslie said.

Water problems have come from water in the water table seeping up from underneath. Because of this there was really no other way to correct the problem other than to fill the pits. Additionally, Loeslie is fairly certain that the carpet is the original carpet installed when the school was built. Another concern cited by Loeslie was an OSHA inspection. OSHA would probably question the safety of the pits and how they would be accessible to students with disabilities.

Bus trip organized for women's spiritual renewal conference

Ann Graham Lotz is keynote speaker.

Tracy Area Women are invited to register for a “spiritual renewal conference” with Anne Graham Lotz, Sept. 21-22 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Other women's spiritual leaders are the conference are Jill Briscoe, Fernando Ortega, and Stephanie Seefeldt.

Anne Graham Lotz, founder and president of Angel Ministries, has ministered to people throughout the world for 25 years. The daughter of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham, Anne launched the “Just Give Me Jesus” campaign last year, a series of revivals held in arenas throughout the United States.

Arrangements have been made through World Class Tours for transportation to the conference. They include motor coach transportation, one-night hotel accommodations, and continental breakfast at the hotel. Participants will leave Tracy in time to arrive in St. Paul by 6:30 p.m.