McGregor Council may consider allowing UTVs on city streets

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The McGregor Council may consider allowing general use of ATVs and UTVs on city streets. The vehicles are currently only allowed for construction and use by city staff.

The discussion stemmed from a UTV ride that visited the community several weeks ago to fuel up, said mayor Lyle Troester at the city’s April 17 council meeting.

“It created a disturbance,” he explained, because the riders weren’t aware UTV operation was prohibited. “They just assumed [it was OK] since we’re surrounded by county roads.”

When the riders left McGregor, “they spread the word, ‘Don’t come to McGregor,’” Troester added. “We don’t want that.”

Troester said the city may want to reconsider its stance because allowing UTVs could bring more people to town to frequent businesses and spend money.

Councilman Joe Muehlbauer said he’s for the idea.

“It’s getting to be a main way of moving around the county. There are whole clubs,” he noted. “Do you want them coming to your business?”

With McGregor being a tourist town, councilman Charlie Carroll also felt it would be a good way to attract visitors.

“Don’t go all gung-ho,” he said, “but we certainly want them in town.”

Councilwoman Rogeta Halvorson, on the other hand, said she was not interested.

“We don’t want it to turn into something where they’re not behaving,” she warned.

Councilman Jason Echard wondered how use would be regulated if a cop wasn’t around.

“We would all need to sit down and go over the details. There’s a couple years of experience [with UTVs] around the county, so there are people I can reach out to,” for advice, said Mar-Mac Police Chief Robert Millin. He had no objection to UTV use, as long as riders follow the rules of the road and obey the city ordinance. He suggested creating a route that has people utilize less-traveled side streets when they’re in town. Riders would only be allowed to cross Main Street, not drive on it for long stretches.

Resident Charlene Palucci said some streets may not be suitable, though.

“If they come down from Pikes Peak and cut down C Street, that’s like an alley. We don’t need extra traffic,” she stated. “Some streets would be an issue for residents. It depends on the route.”

Richard Palucci said the council will also have to consider where UTVs will park.

“Parking is limited,” he said, “and there will be more people around.”

Millin said parking could be restricted to the First Street lot, by McGregor Municipal Utilities.

“Everything is within walking distance,” he noted.

When updating its ordinance, attorney Mike Schuster said the city can designate routes and parking areas and add appropriate limitations to curb potential misbehavior.

Echard said signage may help too.

“McGregor’s Main Street is a state highway,” meaning UTV operation is prohibited on it regardless of the city’s laws, “but people don’t realize that,” he shared. “We’re not trying to kick people out.”

The council will discuss the topic more at a future meeting.

Street department doing best it can with high water

During his operations report to the council, street supervisor Ren Pape asked residents who are experiencing water and sewage issues in their basements due to river flooding and the high water table to remain patient. 

“Stick with us,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can.”

He hoped the pump on Main Street, which is helping with the problem, can be removed soon.

“It hasn’t been easy,” added mayor Troester. “It’s the last thing people want, but there’s nothing we can do until the river goes down.”

Troester said he’s reached out to state representatives and the governor for resources to help the city deal with sewer issues.

Plans to create parking area, gate entrance to evacuation route

The council discussed a plan to create a small graveled parking area off Eagle Drive, near the entrance to the Marquette emergency evacuation route. Right now, people who are utilizing the route for recreational use are parking on the route itself and having to back onto private property to turn around.

The plan for the area would also include the addition of a gate or chain with bollards at the entrance, as well as signage letting people know where private property starts.

“In order to keep the route open, we need to put that up there,” said city administrator Lynette Sander. “It’s getting some use.”

Sander will provide the council with cost estimates at a future meeting.

Sections of railing will be replaced

The council approved a proposal from Andrew Fettkether, in the amount of $6,000, to remove, repair, sandblast, paint and replace several sections of downtown railing near By the Spoonful, the B Street parking lot and the Sullivan Opera House.

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