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Grant application for Eagle Cliff Trail Spur


Mon, Mar 18th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Arts & Culture

By Karen Reisner

The owners of Eagle Cliff Campground had requested that Fillmore County be the sponsor for a grant application to the Minnesota DNR to finance a bicycle trail in the Hwy 16 right of way near Whalan. At the board’s March 12 meeting the board agreed to be the sponsor. An agreement between the owners and the county drafted by county attorney Brett Corson was discussed and approved.

Over the last few years there has been an effort to create a trail connecting the campground to the state trail at Whalan so campground residents can have a safer way to get to the state trail. Campground bicyclists have been making their way to the state trail along the edge of Hwy 16. Commissioner Duane Bakke noted that MnDot would have preferred the trail spur to be located outside of the state right of way through use of private land. Then, the county had made a request that MnDot widen the shoulders as a possible solution. Since, MnDot has agreed to the trail spur being constructed within the state right of way.

County Engineer Ron Gregg said the DNR is in favor of getting the bicycle traffic off of Hwy 16 for safety reasons. It was estimated two years ago that the trail spur would cost less than $40,000.

The grant application to the DNR Regional Trail Grant Program must be submitted by March 31. The county will be required to pay the 25 percent matching funds for the grant up front if the grant is awarded. Eagle Cliff Campground owners have agreed to reimburse the county all of the matching funds within three years at an amount of at least $5,000 per year. They have also agreed to maintain the trail for no less than twenty years. Since the county is responsible to see that the maintenance is adequate, if Eagle Cliff fails to do proper maintenance, the county will do the maintenance and charge the owners of the campground for the work. The trail will be open for public use.

Community Corrections, Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted (DFO)

Olmsted County program manager Curt Petzel and retiring DFO director Doug Lambert introduced community correction staff working in Fillmore County. Lambert said he was pleased with the 2013-2014 joint powers agreement. He reminisced about how the probation programs have grown over the last 30 to 40 years throughout the state. He added that we now do a lot better job with offenders than we did decades ago. With Lambert’s retirement Shelley McBride will serve as Interim Director. She stated she had been in corrections for 16 years with the bulk of her work being with youth and families.

Petzel related that there are five probation officers, one victim service officer, and one unfilled position in Fillmore County. There is a collaborative effort between social workers, law enforcement officers, and DFO officers to prevent offenders from reoffending. The DFO staff serves 500 to 600 clients each year.

Kristine Frisby has served as an agent for twenty years, first in Olmsted County and now in Fillmore County. She primarily supervises adult offenders. She says it is a team effort. A large percentage of offenders have alcohol or drug problems.

Kari Berg has been an agent for seventeen years, nine with Fillmore County. She supervises adult offenders and is a facilitator of the men’s domestic violence program.

Star Polzin works with juveniles and monitors a community service program for adults and juveniles.

Angela Lange has been with Fillmore County for eighteen years and works with risk assessments and court reports.

Melissa Wassink works in victim services and is filling in for Sarah Monroe while she is on maternity leave. Wassink follows up with victims while helping them through the process.

Petzel said additional staff out of the Rochester office is available to work with sex offenders.

Bakke discussed a bill that has been introduced in the state legislature to provide immunity to an underage person who has possession of or has consumed alcohol who calls for assistance for him/her self or another. The bill could reduce the number of young people loosing their lives to alcoholic poisoning. Petzel said he wasn’t aware of that bill, but agreed it could save lives.

Other Business In Brief

•After a cost analysis over the life of the road, engineer Gregg recommended using concrete rather than bituminous on CSAH 24 from Lenora east to trunk highway 43. The work is to be done this year. The up front cost will be about $73,000 more per mile. However, over a 35 year period the cost of maintenance for the concrete surface will be significantly less. Over the life of the road, concrete will prove to be more economical. Gregg ended saying concrete gets the “best bang for the buck.” The board unanimously approved Gregg’s recommendation for concrete.

Gregg also recommended that they pursue a more aggressive preservation program for roads, than has been done in the past. Bakke said they will need to come up with a plan to pay for it, adding he agreed with the need for better maintenance. Chairman Randy Dahl agreed better maintenance could extend the life of the roads. Gregg maintained we need to “preserve what we have,” adding there are not going to be a lot of reconstruction projects.

•An agreement was approved with Priority Payment Systems to provide credit card payment services for fuel at the airport. The cost of the credit card service will add about 25 cents to the price of fuel coming off the truck. Bakke said that once the service is in place it can be expanded to other places, like allowing real estate taxes to be paid for through the system.

•Bakke noted that they had received a response on the county’s request to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to have the state serve as the responsible government unit (RGU) for an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed mines to be operated by Minnesota Sands, LLC in three counties including Fillmore, Winona, and Houston. The EQB will hold a special meeting on March 20 to make a formal decision on the county’s request.

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