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Another snag for industrial park plan

By Staff | Apr 13, 2014

The city of Blue Earth has run into multiple snags in their plan to build a new industrial park on the north side of Interstate 90.

Now they learned of another one during their regular meeting last Monday night.

This time it is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“We need to find out if the Army Corps of Engineers has any jurisdiction over the wetlands in the project area,” city administrator Kathy Bailey told the council. “If they do, it could change the number of wetlands credits we need to be purchasing from the county.”

Already, the county has tied paying for a possible street by the law enforcement center in with the purchase of the wetlands credits. Bailey says the city would have to set money aside for this contingency, according to their auditor.

Bailey also told the council that city engineer Wes Brown has sent a letter to the Corps of Engineers asking for speedy determination as to their possible jurisdiction in the matter.

“But, I have been told it could be months 90 to 120 days before we hear anything,” Brown said. “And that could delay the project to next year.”

Councilman John Huisman was upset with this development and suggested a way to speed things up.

“I think we should contact our congressman, Tim Walz,” Huisman said. “He has staff people that will contact the Corps of Engineers and let them know how important this is.”

While at first some staff members thought they should wait to hear back from the Corps of Engineers about Brown’s letter, Huisman thought it should be done immediately.

In the end, the council voted to accept the county’s proposal contingent upon getting the Army Corps of Engineers to sign off on the jurisdiction issue.

The contract with the county calls for payment of $42,584 for the wetlands credits, taxes, fees, etc.

Plus, the motion included the $10,350 be set aside for any future street expansion by the law enforcement center, for a total amount of $52,934.

None of these funds will be reimbursed from the federal Economic Development Authority grant.

The council also took care of several other matters connected to the new North Industrial Park project.

First, they authorized the purchase agreement for buying part of the land which will be in the industrial park.

Next, they also said OK to the preliminary and final plat for the new park. It includes the exact layout of the building lots for the industrial area.

And, third, they started the annexation process for some of the industrial park property.

Some of the land being used for the new park is already in the city limits, but some is not, but will be annexed into the city.

Letters will now be sent to the adjoining landowners and to the township board notifying them of the intention to annex the land.