Major projects becoming the norm
A number of years ago, Blue Earth suddenly became the center for some pretty serious big-dollar projects.
Oh, it isn’t like these types of ambitious undertakings were not done in bygone days they certainly were, of course. But it had been a while since anything really big had been accomplished.
That changed roughly 10 years ago. And, I am not entirely sure why.
I am referring to such things as the new water tower, new Public Safety Center (a.k.a. fire hall/police station), city liquor store, totally revamped airport and, of course, the new swimming pool.
Add in the county building a new law enforcement center here, and there was certainly a spurt of activity all of a sudden.
And, this progressive drive does not seem to be diminishing.
The City Council is continuing its efforts to try and rebuild as many of the city’s streets as possible.
Long neglected and never really properly built in the first place, the streets are being remade a few blocks at a time, with projects underway every summer for the past seven years or so.
That work has included some state and county projects, as well, including the now infamous roundabouts on Highway 169 and the soon to be started reconstruction of two blocks of downtown Main Street and the Main Street bridge over the Blue Earth River near the fairgrounds.
We dare not forget about the new north industrial park, now dubbed the Golden Spike Business Park.
That was certainly no small undertaking and was an ambitious project for a city the size of Blue Earth.
Now, the city has set its sights on another new development a new residential neighborhood. It is something that has been discussed for some time, and it has the chances of becoming a reality in the next couple of years.
Does Blue Earth need a housing development when there are so many homes for sale, skeptics ask?
Perhaps. There is not much to choose from if someone is looking for a buildable lot.
And, with so many businesses crying to find qualified employees to come work here, new housing is one of the keys to solve this issue.
Our story on the front page of this week’s issue of the Faribault County Register shows that this progressive, big project spurt of activity is continuing.
There will be not one, but two construction projects started at the Blue Earth Municipal Airport this year.
Plus, the council is starting to study what they need to do to bring the wastewater treatment plant up to modern requirements.
And, it is a lot.
Talking about rebuilding a sewage processing plant is definitely not as sexy as discussing a new swimming pool, but it is certainly a very necessary item in any sized town or city.
The plant in Blue Earth is well-built and functioning pretty well, but it is definitely old and served past its life expectancy.
Much of the plant was built in the 1960s and 1980s, with some of it constructed in the 1990s.
One new necessary edition was constructed in the past few years, but, for the most part, the whole place is going to need a multi-million dollar overhaul.
We can’t forget to mention the private sector, as it is not just public entities doing these upgrades.
Places like Seneca Foods and of course, Kibble Equipment, have invested millions into their facilities recently.
Other local businesses are fixing up and remodeling their current buildings, or even building a whole new structure. There is activity currently going on by a florist shop, drive-in, insurance office and taxidermist, just to mention a few.
We would also be totally remiss if we didn’t mention the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce’s plans to build a new building at Giant Park that would be a combination chamber office, tourist information center, Giant Museum and cap collection display.
Another ambitious project that we hope to soon see come to fruition.
There is absolutely no doubt about it. Things are happening here in Blue Earth and in the other towns of Faribault County (such as the beautiful new USC school in Wells, of course).
I’ll end with my favorite new big project, something I have wanted to see happen here for the past eight years.
Plans are also underway for four new ‘Welcome to Blue Earth’ signs to be installed at the four major entrances to the city.
It could happen later this year.