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Peterson advances Count 25 project planning

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jun 14th, 2013
Posted in Peterson Government

By Kirsten Zoellner

“There’s a sidewalk there, you just can’t see it. It’s buried under dirt and grass.” Peterson Mayor Jennifer Wood is eager to see improvements along County 25 running through the heart of the town. The roadway itself has both safety and drainage issues, as well as a thoroughly worn surface area. Approximately one half mile of the road runs through town and it is tentatively scheduled for 2014 county work.

The project roadway work will be paid for by the county with a 50/50 share between the county and city on sidewalks. The city has been meeting with engineers to find the best solution to their issues which also include the need for some improved curb and gutter, upgrading narrow sidewalks, correcting drainage issues, and possible utility work.

Two firms, Yaggy Colby of Rochester, Minn. and SEH, Inc. of LaCrosse, Wis. have presented plans to the city. While the council was impressed with the creativeness of SEH and eagerness to take advantage of grant funding, they ultimately chose Yaggy Colby to engineer the project due to their solid experience working with the county and other municipalities. However, what SEH proposed stuck in the minds of many, including Mayor Wood.

“You need to think differently about the approach,” said Rebecca Flege, representing SEH. “If you have a comprehensive plan for the future, for more than just this project, you can take the projects and make them fundable and look at all sorts of funding agencies for workable options. You want to be proactive and to have project thought out to fit the program.”

“What interested me was the comprehensive plan,” said Wood. “It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing. We need to start opening our ears up to funding. Is it a possibility of one firm do County 25 work and one assist in developing a comprehensive plan for city?”

For now, the city will work with Yaggy Colby to determine what the city must have done immediately. A special meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 24, at 7pm, at city hall to work out the details and set the parameters of the project plan.

Councilors Gail Boyum and Barry Erickson also reported on another area of planning, the recent joint fiscal impact meeting with the Rushford-Peterson School District, Rushford, and the City of Rushford Village.

“I got the feeling that we were called there because the school district wanted us to see the impact if a new school was built,” said Boyum. “I’ve asked myself this numerous times since. For some reason, it affects Rushford, but it would dramatically affect Peterson and the farmers of Rushford Village.”

“If we want people to come live here, to work here, they’re not going to come somewhere that the tax rates are that high,” added Erickson. Still, both were impressed with the fiscal impact program itself, which was created by Mike Bubany, a consultant for David Drown Associates.

City Clerk Megan Grebe agreed it would be useful in planning. “This is ours. It’s a tool for us to use.”

One other item highlighted at the recent meeting was an issue with Peterson residents being pulled over by local police for traveling on the currently under construction Highway 16 towards Rushford. The road is closed except to local traffic and an detour on Highway 30 and County 25 is in place. “I spoke to MnDot and the road is open to Peterson residents. I’ve spoken to a community communication rep and they’re working it out with local and county police. I don’t want our citizens or tourists harassed.”

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, July 10, at 7pm, at City Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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