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Preston endorses Root River restoration project

Mon, May 26th, 2014
Posted in Preston Government

City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained the plans for the restoration project at the council’s May 19 meeting. Trout Unlimited requested the city’s endorsement for their plans to improve Root River access for anglers on land owned by the city or the Minnesota DNR.

Trout Unlimited will apply for funding from the state through the Outdoor Heritage Legacy Grant (sales tax money) to make improvements along 1.25 miles of the Root River from the south bridge to Camp Creek. The money will be used to stabilize the banks, to remove weedy tree species and reduce erosion, to install ADA compliant and safer accesses for fishermen, and to install in-stream habitat.

The National Trout Center developed the cooperative agreement with Minnesota Trout Unlimited and the DNR.

The city is expected to contribute some in-kind work (helping with tree removal) and to permit work to be done on its property. The city will not contribute to the funding of the project. The council agreed to participate endorsing the project.

Industrial Park

A couple of unanswered questions concerning the Industrial Park to be located south and west of the intersection of Highways 52 and 16 north of town created considerable discussion. DEED has not given the city an answer on their grant request to help pay for necessary infrastructure for the park and won’t until after the governor signs the bonding bill which has been approved by both the state house and senate.

The other hurdle seems to be the location of a retention pond. Members of the council do not like the idea of the pond being located in the industrial park area as it would take over an acre of space on the developable site and not add to the attractiveness of the area.

City Engineer Brett Grabau explained other options which would be considerably more expensive and would require a willing seller of private property and/or MnDOT approval. One site being considered would drain a much larger area requiring considerably more capacity. Grabau maintained that treating on site as was recommended in the original plan is the most economical option.

Councilman Robert Maust suggested that creating a retention pond on private property that would drain many times as many acres would cost more now but would serve the city better years down the road.

Mayor Kurt Reicks commented that he has been hearing concerns from residents over planned property tax increases necessary to pay for street projects already in the works and the amount of money being spent.

Maust asked if we want to be a “standstill” community or if we want to attract businesses. Councilman David Collett said the first step is to find out if private property can be acquired for the location of a retention pond. Councilman Charles Sparks maintained that if every other option fails, we will have to go back to the original plan and locate the pond on the developable site.

A motion was approved directing staff to see if private property (Wingert property) can be acquired to locate the pond off the industrial park site.

Other Business In Brief

•A revolving loan for Bluff Country Manufacturing was approved as recommended by the EDA. The applicant has requested $10,000 payable over 15 years at 2.5 percent interest. The loan will be collateralized with a second lien on the new building and a personal guarantee. The loan was approved contingent on the bank financing approval.

•Richard Petsch updated the council on the ongoing projects of the Preston Historical Society. Currently, they are only working on small maintenance projects. The restoration of the 1951 Milwaukee Road caboose is nearly complete. Kelly Printing will do the stenciling on the outside.

The historical society would like to put up a fence around the whole caboose and elevator area for safety and liability reasons.

A letter requesting the annual funding from the city in the amount of $3,000 was introduced. Hoffman noted the council has authorized funding in the amount of $2,500 for each of the last five years and that is the amount that had been budgeted for this year. After some discussion the council approved funding at the $3,000 level.

•The city will get 3 AEDs provided through Fillmore County’s AED grant. They will be placed in the fire hall, power plant, and the city shop.

•Tim Kiehne representing the Preston Chamber of Commerce had requested the closure of Main Street (St. Anthony Street to St. Paul Street) on the second Thursday of each month during the summer for Family Fun Night. Approval was given to close the street from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the evenings of June 12, July 10, and August 14.

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