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Answer Man: Where’s Apache Mall’s stormwater pond?

April 21, 2019 GMT

Hey, Prestigious Answerman; on Monday you gave a great explanation to the lead in – storm water fees and storm water ponds — to my question. But I could not find specifically where the retention pond for Apache Mall is located. That was the question. I know, when you have to sit inside all day and only look outside it is easy to miss the point. Muchas Preguntas

Thanks, M.P. My loyal readers know that all of my explanations are great. As for the ease of my job, giving answers to questions is simple stuff for me, but I do cover hill and dale for those answers. It’s not like just sitting around and winning a raffle prize. Anyway, the window is too far across the room to be much use.

Where is the pond at Apache Mall, you ask? It’s right there with the spacecraft landing pads and teleporter stations — that is, stuff of the future, as it would have been seen in the late 1960s, when the mall was developed. The current version of stormwater regulations requiring ponds didn’t come about until 1998. But now, of course, the whole property is paved over, and there’s no going back.

Or is there? My source at City Hall, Troy Erickson, who heads the Stormwater Utility, says that under the latest laws, any major redevelopment at the 53-acre mall property — say, a new store or a parking ramp — likely would trigger a requirement to put in something like a holding pond, a rain garden or other kind of unpaved spot for the water to bubble down. That’s something that came on the books only recently, more recently even than when Scheels was built in 2013, which is why there’s still no pond at the mall, and you and I can’t go down and cast bobbers into it.

Since there is no pond, that means the “bad stuff” you see in the snow pile in the parking lot can go straight down a drain, through a pipe and into the Zumbro River. Fortunately, Apache Mall has a well-thought-out street-sweeping program to mitigate that.

The mall describes it this way, in a document on file at City Hall: “The parking lot is broken into seven areas for thorough sweeping, and the entire lot for all visible debris on a daily basis (seven days a week). We own a commercial grade sweeper (Schwarze 347-I) which our staff operates. All lot sweepings are placed in a roll-off container for disposal.”

In addition, the mall inspects and cleans its catch basins on a monthly and ad-hoc basis. All of that work qualifies Apache Mall for a 6 percent credit on its Stormwater Utility Fee bill.

How much is that fee, you ask? Apache Mall pays $4,253 per month on its four parcels, and Macy’s is separately assessed $368.48 per month.