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County opens parks

By Staff | Jun 7, 2020

“The hot topic for today, as it has been for the last few meetings, concerns opening the county parks,” Public Works director Mark Daly told the Faribault County Commissioners at their regular meeting, which was held remotely on Tuesday, June 2. “I recommend we open both parks to all people and not just the seasonal campers. I also would like to open the public restrooms.”

Daly pointed out the governor had cleared the way for campgrounds to open with guidance effective June 1.

“The park host at Pihls Park says she voluntarily cleans the restrooms at the park,” board member Bill Groskreutz offered.Daly stated the park host at Woods Lake says she also cleans the restrooms.

Daly was asked when the parks could be ready to be opened.

“The parks should be ready to open by Thursday, June 4,” Daly replied. “We still have to install some signs at Woods Lake.”

The commissioners voted unanimously to open Pihls Park and Woods Lake Park to all people.

Staying on the subject of the county parks, Daly informed the board applications for parks manager had to be in by 4:30 p.m. on June 2 and a new parks manager should be hired soon.

Daly also informed the board about new permits being offered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to cities allowing them to use MnDOT right-of-way (typically parking lanes) for food and beverage service.

“The cities would assume the liability which I assume they would pass on to the establishment,” Daly explained. “The area would have to be fenced off, possibly by snow fence. It would allow establishments to have some outdoor dining options.”

The board passed the motion.

Daly’s next topic of discussion concerned the repair of a bridge in Verona Township on 165th Street.

“The bridge is about one half mile east of County State Aid Highway 1,” Daly said. “It is a timber bridge and was closed on Nov. 8 of last year due to a crushed timber.”

Daly had received two bids for repairing the bridge.

“If we go with the low bid we are looking at a cost of $41,175 to repair the bridge,” Daly told the commissioners. “If we were to replace the bridge the cost would be in the neighborhood of $600,000.”

The board voted to award the bid to repair the bridge to Icon Construction in the amount of $41,175.

The commissioners also reviewed the county policy on railroad side-track crossings which are located on county highways.

“By law, the owners of the side-tracks are responsible for maintaining a safe crossing. The current policy is if the side-tracks are removed, then all costs are paid for by the county,” Daly explained. “If the crossing is to be repaired the track owner pays for the crossing replacement which is estimated to cost $35,000 each. The county pays for traffic control and bituminous paving which costs about $16,000 each.”

The board voted to keep this policy in place.

Sheriff Mike Gormley also had business for the County Board and presented a resolution to accept a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, to be used for maintenance and groomling of the snowmobile trails managed by the Faribault County Trails Association, Blue Earth Snow Rovers Snowmobile Club and the Stateliners Snowmobile Club.

The commissioners approved receiving the grant and then board chairman Tom Warmka asked Gormley how things were going at the Sheriff’s Department and if they were staying healthy.

“We have two deputies who are at the end of a 14-day self quarantine,” Gormley responded. “And we have two jailers who will be tested for COVID-19 after being exposed to an inmate who has the coronavirus. They have not had any symptoms at this time. We utilize a medical isolation cell for the infected prisoner.”

During the public comment portion of the meeting, rural Frost resident Barbara Baker asked the commissioners to revoke the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the hog facility which will be built near her residence. She cited groundwater concerns as one of the reasons for her opposition to the proposed hog building. The commissioners took no action.

The commissioners also:

Passed a resolution, as required by state statute, to establish an Absentee Ballot Board effective June 26, 2020.

Granted the request of Brandee Douglas, Faribault County GIS (Geographic Information System) coordinator, to participate in the Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute) 2020 Virtual User Conference.

Approved the request of Brady Rauenhorst, who works in the county assessor’s office, to take part in the MAAO (Minnesota Association of Assessing Officers) Summer Seminar Online Conference.