Small-town street project paved with controversy

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A big-time power struggle has developed in small-town southeastern Minnesota, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

The drama over politics and money is playing out in Spring Grove, Minn., population 1,300, where newly elected mayor Bruce Poole ran primarily on a single issue: His opposition to a Main Street reconstruction project that has been in the planning since 2004.

Poole got 271 votes, defeating Mayor Saundra G. Solum by 39 votes, the newspaper reports. He ran alongside two city council candidates who also objected to the $4.2 million project – and they won, too.

So Poole was irked this week to learn that Solum is pushing forward with the project until he and the new council are seated. Now he threatens to sue.

But Solum says the time is right, in part given $1.5 million available from the state (Main Street is also Minnesota Highway 44 that runs through town.) "It's been coming for a long time," she tells the Post Bulletin. "We have not done anything that was not already planned."

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