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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

June 16, 2012
The Journal

Markplatz Mall chaos

DOUBLE THUMBS DOWN: The situation surrounding the Marktplatz Mall and its dueling owners seems to be spinning out of control. The contention between New Ulm Retail?Development, LLC, (NURD) and Randy Danielson is making life difficult for the few businesses that inhabit the mall.

The City of New Ulm is adding to the chaos with an order to shut off the utilities to the mall by next Tuesday unless NURD or Danielson or somebody pays the remaining utilities bill, which is $4,000 in arrears. City Attorney Hugh Nierengarten explained the city is interested in protecting the city's coffers. We think the city should pull back on its shutdown ultimatum. A lien worked in May to get a large chunk of the utilities bill paid.

The two main tenants in the mall are Herberger's, whose men's department is entirely within the mall, and the Little Rascals Day Care, which serves about 80 kids. They are being whipsawed by the disagreements between the owners and the city's shutdown threat. What are the parents served by Little Rascals going to do if they can't get into the mall to drop off their children? Would the Bon?Ton Stores, owners of Herberger's, shut down its New Ulm store over this continued aggravation? Is it worth $4,000 to find out? We think the city can afford to be a little more patient. We guarantee the economic impact of Herberger's closing would be a lot more than $4,000.

We're taking the unusual action of issuing a double thumbs down in this situation, one for the mall owners and their inability to work together, and another for the city for playing hardball in a situation that doesn't need the extra aggravation.

Strong stand

THUMBS UP: The New Ulm City Council took a strong stand at its June 5 meeting when it refused to approve a tobacco license for Smokes 4 Less, a new shop in town that sells tobacco and tobacco related products, including an herbal incense that some people are using as a semi-legal "high." At the urging of Councilor Les Schultz, who has seen the problems the product creates through his work at the Brown County Probation Office, the council said no to the herbal incense.

This week Smokes 4?Less indicated it is willing to stop selling the herbal incense product to get its license. We know the owners feel they were selling a legal product not intended for consumption, but we're glad they are willing to take this step.



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