The Estherville City Directory lists South 6th Street as 3 blocks in length, with 22 business establishments and 3 residential homes. At a minimum, three buildings within this 3-block section could use a "facelift", with the 6th Street Emporium on the top of the list. From what I have read and heard, the FIRST step planned by Kristy Henning for the Emporium building was renovation of the outside.
It is always amazing to me that when one person renovates their business or home, the surrounding ones seem to follow suit. Look at all the new store fronts Estherville has seen over the past few years! Wouldn't it be great to continue down that path? There is nothing that reflects more negatively on a community or neighborhood than a run-down, poorly maintained business or home.
I have never spoken directly to Kristy Henning on what her long-term vision for the building entailed, but I have been following the animal shelter on Facebook, in the Estherville Daily News, and attended the council meeting. I, too, like so many others was disappointed with the outcome of the vote. The issues of noise and odor were addressed that evening at the meeting. There are regulations that must be met by the shelter to remain open regarding cleanliness. There is a city ordinance already in place addressing barking dogs. It was also conveyed to the council, and those attending the meeting, that the majority of dogs would still be fostered by volunteers in their homes, and the ones remaining in the shelter would be inside the building by 5:00 p.m. nightly. A neighbor who shares a driveway with the Henning's, and another neighbor who lives directly down the street, both stood at the microphone and stated there is no noise or odor problems resulting from the shelter (which presently is in their neighborhood).
Please permit me to tell you what I envision if the Emmet County Animal Shelter was allowed to be housed in the 6th Street Emporium. I envision a place where children and adults of all ages could come to experience the meaning of volunteering, and unconditional love and respect for another living being in need. I envision a beautifully restored landmark building, with possibly some old pictures of its historic beginning lining the hallways. I envision the opportunity for a groomer to rent space and open his/her shop there, or a small pet supply store. I envision dog obedience classes being offered to the public. I envision myself becoming part of something that adds value to MY life, my grandchildren's lives, and our community.
I humbly request the council to please reconsider their decision. Ask for more explicit details, if needed. If there is a "conditional use" permit, consider that option. But most of all, I beseech the City Council to keep an open mind and heart to the needs of our community. If we do not grow, we become stagnant. I know that isn't the desire of our councilmen, or their constituents, for Estherville.
Barb Nissen, Estherville