The Tuesday, May 2, Rushford Village Council included an update from representatives of the Bluff Country ATV Club. The club has talked about the development of a Bluff Trax trail system for several years and an in-depth concept was developed in the last five. Now, the club is getting closer to making a scenic, family-friendly trail a reality.
“There are about seven steps we have to go through. Right now, we’re at step one. We’re closer than we’ve ever been.” The club is headquartered in Rushford and has members from four counties.
The concept is to utilize the area bluff lands for a leisure trail. The group has been diligent in saying that it will be speed controlled and is looking to mitigate any potential problems through education. “Forty miles of trails is enough of a draw to bring people from states over. This driftless area; there’s nothing like it within hundreds of miles. People will come.” It’s estimated that ATV users spend upwards of $250 per person per day while enjoying the hobby. It’s typical for them to spend a day or a weekend in a locale, while spending dollars on restaurants, lodging, and more. “It’s a win-win situation.”
The group is hoping to utilize a state grant-in-aid program to develop the trail. Funds from the Department of Natural Resources are likely and will help promote the trail system. They are seeking non-monetary support from the cities of Rushford, Peterson, and Rushford Village. More than 90% of the 40-mile trail will be situated within the Village, where a large amount of state land also exists.
Mayor Gordon Johnson noted the city can be behind the trail verbally and conceptually and indicated a letter of support could be drafted.
In other news, Village administration will be part of a League of Minnesota Cities audit regarding cyber liability on May 18. Reviewing current practices, it was discovered that since 2013, the city had only backed up information on the computer itself, not on an external hard drive or cloud. Previously, the city had backed up data through what was then Ace Communications. The city will now partner with CCS Technologies.
The cost is estimated at $35 per month for antivirus and cloud storage, plus a one-time $130 fee for external backup. The firm will also help with PCI and HIPAA compliancy. “We should be in pretty good shape,” noted Councilor Dennis Overland, discussing the changes.
A concern with Tower Ridge Road and a property owned by Jim Schueler was also a topic of discussion at the meeting. Schueler stated that the culvert on the road is plugged and that his property and a $12,000 septic system are in danger of damage from soil sliding down the hill. Schueler indicated that he has an excavator and a brother who is a licensed operator and asked whether they could address the problem at no cost to the city. Mayor Johnson suggested that they put together a proposal for the work, including material removal, and submit it to the city, along with proof of insurance.
“Right now, FEMA projects are taking front and center,” said Johnson at the suggestion of some assistance from Public Works digging out the culvert. “We appreciate the offer, but we will have to make sure the I’s and T’s are dotted and crossed.”
“Digging out the culvert will help temporarily. It’s not a solution, but it’ll help,” said Schueler.
The council has used the discussion of roads to setup their next road tour, where they will inspect and document all roads within the Village. It’s slated for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9.
City-wide cleanup will happen Saturday, May 13, at the Village Hall. More information can be found in the city newsletter or by calling the Village Hall.