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A tough decision for county board

Aug 31, 2009

Our elected officials have to make a lot of decisions almost every time they meet. Sometimes those are easy to make. Occasionally they are difficult. Sometimes almost impossible – a no-win situation no matter what they do.

The Faribault County Commissioners found themselves in that latter category recently when they tried to decide what to do about highway memorials, placed there by the families of someone killed at a certain site on a road.

These memorials are located all over the state, but it was a certain one in Pilot Grove Township which caused the stir. Perhaps it wouldn’t have, but the memorial was larger than most, and deemed by some to be a hazard.

Driving around Southern Minnesota recently, we noticed several of these memorials. Turning off of I-90 on State Highway 52, headed north into Rochester, there is a large group of crosses and flowers, obviously marking the spot where a group of people were killed in a car accident. It is a state highway, so we assume the memorial won’t be there forever.

Locally, officials wish they would have never started with the memorial issue, but in the end they made the only decision they could make. That was to follow state law and Minnesota Department of Transportation guidelines. Basically the state lets the memorials stay for six months, then has them moved off the right-of-way ditch area, and on to private property.

We hope the issue is finally resolved. We hope the persons involved – from the county board to the highway department, to the people who wish to place the memorials – all figure out a way to have the memorials, but also keep them from being in the way of mowing, driving, or other public safety concerns.

The county board made the tough decision, but it was the right one. Unfortunately, sometimes they have to make an unpopular move, one that may not make everyone happy.