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North Main project begins July 5

By Staff | Jun 26, 2016

North Main Street in Blue Earth, including this area by the bridge over the Blue Earth River, will be under construction by Tuesday, July 5.

Local construction dominated the conversation at Tuesday’s Faribault County Board meeting, as the commissioners heard updates on various projects, including the North Main Street work slated for this summer.

After requesting approval of a $171,036 state bonding grant to go toward 20 percent of scheduled North Main construction, county engineer Mark Daly highlighted July 5 as the project’s projected start date.

“The road will be closed then,”?he said, reminding the board that the other 80 percent of construction costs are being funded by federal aid.

The North Main Street project, which prompted the recent relocation of utility lines from Leland Parkway to near Fairgrounds Road, was not the only construction Daly discussed, either.

With a motion by the board to award forthcoming County Road 18 work to Brunz Construction, of Madison Lake, Daly also laid out plans for that project, which he said will not include a specific detour.

“That’ll include construction, grading, adding and repairing drain tile,”?Daly said. “I think by August, it’ll be started, and for a completion date, we’re shooting for the end of October.”

With unanimous support from the commissioners, Daly also reiterated plans to pursue “probably 30 to 40 miles”?worth of road stripe improvements. Awarding AAA Striping Service for county road work thanks to board approval, Daly intends to have six-inch stripes replace existing four-inch markings on select roads.

On a broader construction scale, the Minnesota Department of Transportation was also in the courthouse for Tuesday’s meeting, as District 7 planner Ronda Allis presented the board with a 10-year proposal for projects in and around the county.

Allis cautioned that MnDOT’s 10-year forecast is updated annually and therefore endures regular change, but she also said there could be a handful of moves in the works that impact Faribault County.

“We’ve been having a lot of internal discussion about turning back some of these roads to the county,”?she said. Targeting State Highways 253 and 254 as potential transfers, Allis also suggested that an upgrade of State Highway 169 projected for 2023 could ultimately be tabled due to a lack of funding.

Commissioner Tom Warmka acknowledged that neither Allis nor MnDOT is particularly at fault for prolonged improvement of 169, but he did make the case for supporting work on the highway.

“In our fantasy world,”?Warmka said, “how much do you think it would impact Southern Minnesota if we had more funding??We need it for economic development for commerce where other people need it for commuting.”

The board echoed Warmka’s thoughts, as did Allis. In discussing the potential turnback of roads to the county, however, Daly had some contrasting reservations in a public comment.

“I would like to open discussion on turnback of state roads before you do any work on (proposing a transfer),” he said, eliciting an agreement by Allis to pursue future discussions.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the County Board also:

Approved revised verbiage in the recently enacted Faribault County Tobacco Free Grounds Policy.

Central Services director Dawn Fellows, on hand to present the updated policy, said the changes “expound on what’s included in county property and what tobacco usage includes.”

Moved to approve reconstruction of a courthouse doorway for added security and for Fellows to pursue a similar project at the Central Services office.

“We made a motion to put security at Central Services before,”?Warmka said, “and I?full well intend to do that.”

Reviewed an updated draft of Planning and Zoning’s renewable energy ordinance, presented by Michele Stindtman.

The board admitted that certain restrictions could ultimately be necessary for the policy’s added focus on solar energy system owners but encouraged the progress of the ordinance.

“This is the wave of the future,”?Warmka said. “So until we start running into problems, this should suffice.”

Aiming to propose the ordinance and corresponding permits for solar energy system owners for adoption on July 19, Stindtman outlined the policy’s permit requirements and enlisted the board for assistance in pricing permit fees.

Commissioner Tom Loveall, who led a discussion on the potential hazards of unkept solar systems, agreed to help push the ordinance forward.

“The board will review and come up with the fees,”?he said.