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From the Editor’s Notebook

By Staff | May 24, 2020

Buried deep inside this week’s story about the Blue Earth City Council meeting is a little tidbit about them approving the hiring of a campground host at the Blue Earth City Campground.

Some folks may not even realize that the city of Blue Earth even owns a campground. In case you don’t know, it is located behind a couple of the buildings at the fairgrounds.

What you might also not realize is that the city of Blue Earth owns most, but not all, of the land at the fairgrounds.

That was one of those surprises I learned when I first came to Blue Earth 13 years ago or so. I had naturally assumed either the county or the County Fair fairboard owned the fairgrounds.

But, I was wrong. The fairgrounds are actually an official Blue Earth City Park.

The fairboard, or the Faribault County Agricultural Society to use the precise name, owns most of the buildings on the fairgrounds, but not the land itself.

Well, OK, that is not quite true. The fair owns the land by the horse barns and horse arena, as well as the area where the large grass parking lot is located.

They also own the area where the grandstand and former go kart track are. They gained this property with a land swap deal with the city. The city got Giant Park, which had been owned by the fair, in exchange for the grandstand area.

Are you confused yet? You should be. I sure am. But, I digress.

The city does own the campground tucked away behind a few of the buildings at the fair. And they operate the campground for the summer, from just before Memorial Day to just after Labor Day (except this year the opening could be delayed due to COVID-19 rules from the state).

Well, it is not quite true the campground is open all summer. The city gives up use of the fairgrounds for a couple of weeks when the fair is going on and that includes the campground area.

Except this year, maybe that won’t happen. After all, the fairboard still has not made a decision whether to have a fair or not this year. As reported last week, that decision was thought to possibly be made this past Thursday, but it looks like it will be postponed again.

Again, that is dependent on rules from the state and the governor in particular.

That is not the only thing going on at the city-owned campground. It is being expanded this year.

It used to be nine sites for travel trailers and another five sites for tent camping spots. However, those tent sites are now getting sewer and water and will be travel trailer sites, as well.

Construction actually started on the area last week. The hope is that the five new sites will be open for use by the Fourth of July.

Because of the growth of the size of the campground, Public Works Department supervisor Jamie Holland approached the City Council a while back with the idea of hiring an official campground “host” who would oversee the campground.

He said he thought there were a lot of uncollected camping fees. You see, it was pretty much an honor system for putting payment in a envelope that was collected later. Plus, the campers had questions about what they could or could not do, and where things were around town, like the grocery story, emergency room, coffee shop, etc.

The host would be paid very little, just a free spot to camp, so the council agreed. At the last council meeting Holland said they had a candidate for the position and her name was Denise Karau. He recommended she be hired and the council agreed.

I could hear a couple of the council members asking “Who is this Denise Karau?” But nobody seemed to know.

Well, I know.

She is my wife, Pam’s, younger sister. She is retired and widowed and has been living in Rochester. Well, actually for the past couple of years she has lived in Rochester only some of the time.

For all of the winter and some of the spring and fall she has traveled around the U.S. in her fifth-wheel travel trailer. She has been a member of a group of Methodist church retired folks called NOMADS who work on projects for people or organizations in need of a little help.

In the summer she lived in her home in Rochester, but now she has recently sold her house and is going to live in the trailer full time.

So, when this newly created position came up in Blue Earth, we let her know about it. And, lo and behold, she thought it sounded like the perfect deal. She has visited Blue Earth quite often to see us and thought it was a pretty nice town.

Which, of course, it is.

So starting pretty soon, whenever the campground can officially open she is going to become a Blue Earthian.

Well, at least until fall, when the leaves turn colors and she heads out who knows where to go help some folks who need a helping hand.