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Road work causes damage

Although no action was formally taken, there was a lengthy discussion at the March 6 Osakis City Council meeting about last year's downtown project and some of the damage that was caused to downtown businesses.

Jeff and Patrick Kalpin, co-owners of O-Town Tavern, previously sent a letter to the city council detailing the awning damage at the restaurant and their attempts to collect money from C and L Excavating or its insurance company, United Fire Group.

Jeff Kalpin, who attended the meeting, explained that the awning was damaged during the reconstruction of Main Street and that he notified Alan Spilles from Bolton and Menk, the engineering firm hired by the city, right away. Because the general public couldn't drive or park on Main Street, Kalpin said he believed that the construction machinery and equipment used by the construction crews caused the damage.

In the letter, the Kalpins said, "We routinely inspected the inside and outside of our business and know that no more than three days had passed from the time we noticed the damage and the last time we had completed an inspection. No vehicles were on the street except construction machinery. We have not been able to replace the awning because we have not received funds in the amount of $2,988 from C and L or their insurance company. It is now six months later."

O-Town Tavern wasn't the only business to have damage reported from the construction project.

Laura Backes from Osakis True Value told the council and Sheila Krohse from Bolton and Menk that the hardware store also received damaged. Backes said she was told the insurance company would not be paying for any of the damage.

Osakis Public Works Superintendent Kurt Haakinson suggested that the city council hold a meeting with all business owners to find out if anyone else had made a claim to C and L Excavating for damage occurring from the construction project and if there were any other businesses that were not receiving money from insurance claims.

No meeting date was set.

In the letter that was sent to the council and discussed at the meeting, Kalpin explained that O-Town received an email from C and L's insurance company stating that as a compromised settlement, it was offering to pay for half of the damaged awning.

City Council member Justin Dahlheimer said he thought it was "uncommon for an insurance company to pay half." He also believed that the excavating company and its insurance company weren't very honest throughout the whole process.

Kalpin stated that O-Town has done what it was supposed to do and they just want to know when they were going to get their money so the awning could be fixed.

Osakis Mayor Kip Emerson said there was no reason why the insurance wouldn't cover the damage and questioned why the Kalpins haven't been paid.

Emerson said the city has $100,000 in retainage fees and that the city could certainly withhold those fees to take care of the claims.

No action was taken and the issue was not resolved.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. She enjoys running and has participated in nearly 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon distances.

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