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Rushford moves forward with potential USDA project

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jan 18th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Government

The city is drawing closer to a go-ahead for the renovation of the former municipal liquor store to a new city hall. A loan resolution with the USDA Rural Development Office was signed on September 24 of last year in order to fund the proposed project. While the USDA has recently requested the loan resolution be rescinded in order for the city to instead adopt a more applicable loan resolution security agreement, the parameters of the funding remain the same. Should the city proceed following bidding results, the loan would finance $200,000 of a proposed cost of $220,000, according to City Clerk Kathy Zacher. The loan would have a 40-year term with a 3.5 percent fixed rate. The loan would also be eligible for immediate repayment without penalty.

Updated plans and specifications for the project were reviewed and approved by USDA January 11. According to Zacher, the council has not yet reviewed the plans and specifications. USDA has authorized the project to be prepared to go to out for competitive construction bids. Should bids exceed the maximum project cost, the city retains the right to decline all bids and opt out of the USDA loan.

The city is also moving forward with the Pine Meadows North, Phase II Utility Line Extensions, affecting the Dammen properties, as well as possible future development. A draft agreement is in place and the water and sewer upgrades have been outlined in engineering plans and specifications. Part of the work will need to be assessed.

The city engineer will review the final plans and specifications to prepare them for bid letting, as well as the assist in addressing the final assessment and easement agreement between the city and property owner John Dammen.

In other news, Meadowlark Restorations has been granted the authority to seek DNR funding for the removal of invasive species on Magelssen’s Bluff. Scott Leddy, representing Meadowlark, a non-profit organization, addressed the council. “Funding is being poured into this area due to the number of rare [plant] species,” he noted. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from the Fish & Wildlife Services. The bluff was listed as one of Minnesota’s highest quality prairies in 1992, but it’s overgrown now with vegetation.”

Photos from the late 1950s show a treeless landscape on the bluff, but it is now overrun with invasive species such as Cedar, Buckthorn, and Prickly Ash. Using the Legacy grant funding through the DNR, Meadowlark Restorations would clear the bluff of the invasive species by cutting and some treatment with the herbicide Garlon. It should be noted to local residents that the treatment with Garlon is minimal and will not involve spraying on the bluff.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Monday, January 28, at 6:30pm, at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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