Hello Walgreens, goodbye Southgate BowlMayor Bruce Ahlgren and Cloquet City Councilors unanimously approved the site plan for a proposed Walgreens store at the site of the current Southgate Bowl Tuesday.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Mayor Bruce Ahlgren and Cloquet City Councilors unanimously approved the site plan for a proposed Walgreens store at the site of the current Southgate Bowl Tuesday.
The vote was bittersweet for Southgate owners Gerry and Rose Pollard, who said they will miss their regular bowlers tremendously, but acknowledge that the time is right.
“It’s been almost a 40-year run since we started downtown with the old one,” said Gerry, noting that they were in the downtown bowling alley for three or four years. “We’ve been [in the building on Doddridge] almost 36 years now; I think it opened in 1977.”
The bowling alley would be demolished to make way for the new Walgreens. At 14,500 square feet, the new store will actually take up about two-thirds of the space currently occupied by the bowling alley and Henagin’s Hideout restaurant.
Architect John Kohler, who is project manager for Semper Development, gave a brief presentation to the council. The most striking change will be the addition of green space to the property, including trees and shrubs planted along the south and west property perimeters. As well, there will be two clearly defined access points and a sidewalk along Doddridge Avenue and leading from Doddridge right to the front door of the Walgreens. There will also be bike racks by the front door, he said.
There will be approximately 70 parking stalls and a drive-up pharmacy. Because of the drive-up, Kohler said the area around the building will be a bit wider than a two-way street. He said that even with an area for trash on the north side of the building and a large delivery truck once each week, traffic could easily flow around the building. There won’t be a loading dock.
Members of the Cloquet Planning Commission had voted unanimously the previous week to recommend the council approve the site plan after adding an additional condition for an easement for a sanitary sewer lift station which is technically located on the proposed Walgreens’ site.
Kohler said, provided the purchasing agreement goes through as planned, Semper would like to start construction over the summer, and aim to open before or just after Christmas.
The change will leave Cloquet without a bowling alley.
“It’s going to be sad, but it’s a gift, too,” Rose said.
“Hopefully someone else will be interested,” Gerry added. “The hardest part is leaving the seniors, who’ve supported us for so many years. We’re going to miss them.”
In other matters Tuesday, Cloquet City Councilors did the following:
+ Approved posting of a vacant police sergeant position, vacant since approximately February 2010;
+ Approved purchase of trucks and plow equipment by the Public Works Department;
+ Approved a cooperative project agreement with the Fond du Lac Reservation for a waterline extension to While Pine Trail from Spring Lake Road to Airport Road, which will improve fire service in areas of the reservation and provide redundancy to the water system. The Fond du Lac Planning Department was awarded a 75 percent grant for the $732,000 project, and the city of Cloquet is assisting with engineering design and construction services. The Band is paying 100 percent of construction costs.
+ Approved two different resolutions related to the proposed improvement to 18th Street from Wilson Avenue to Prospect Avenue and Prospect Avenue from 18th to 20th Street, the second phase of improvements started last summer on 18th Street. The project involves total reconstruction of the existing roadway and replacement of utilities, including installation of a larger capacity storm sewer system. The new street will be slightly narrower, but sidewalks will be installed on both sides of the street where currently no sidewalks exist.
Councilors approved preparation of plans for the project; they also approved a resolution that will permanently restrict parking on 18th Street from Doddridge Avenue to Prostpect Avenue to only the east side of the street. No parking will be allowed on the west side .
+ Reconsideration of final assessments to Trails Edge parcels adjacent to last year’s 18th Street project was postponed until the council meeting on April 3.