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Rushford ready to re-build Creekside Park

Sat, Mar 28th, 2009
Posted in Government

As citizens gear up to rebuild Rushford's landmark Creekside Park Playground in May, the decision was finalized at last Monday's city council meeting to place the new playground near where it previously stood.

"I don't really care where the playground ends up," said Public Works Director Jeff Copley in his presentation, "but I do care about drainage."

The statement is not surprising considering the devastation caused to the park and playground in the flood of August, 2007.

The flood changed "the flow" of the land in the park, according to Copley, and thus the outlay of the new playground will be a bit different from the past.

The playground committee had proposed two possible sites, both feasible given the new contour and flow lines: Site A would have moved the playground considerably north of its past site with the idea that parents sitting at ball games would also be close to the playground to keep an eye on younger siblings.

Site B, which committee chair Phil Gaddis said was favored by the majority of the committee, moves the playground approximately 20 feet north and west of the old site.

This location would allow "green space" for the possibility of festivals like Rushford Days to be held at the park in the future.

Councilman Larry Johnson motioned to go along with the committee's recommendation and proceed with site B. The council approved unanimously.

Plans are underway for citizens to assist in building the new park during the third weekend in May.

Wastewater Facility

The council approved a resolution to hold a public hearing on the city's proposed new wastewater treatment facility. The hearing will take place at the regular council meeting on Monday, April 27.

Surprisingly, the need for the new facility has "very little to do with the flood," according to City Administrator Windy Block, but rather is needed to deal with pre-existing conditions. At the time of the flood, repairs to the wastewater system were ongoing but came to an abrupt halt as the city dealt with the immediate issue of flood water.

According to the resolution, wastewater improvements are necessary "for the City to be in compliance with the discharge limitation and to undertake its anticipated growth in the future."

Bad transformers?

Since the flood, the city has experienced a higher than normal rate of electrical equipment failures, mostly within pad-mounted transformers, switchgear and underground distribution cable terminations.

The cause for these failures is believed to be the fact that the majority of Rushford's underground electrical equipment was completely submerged during the flood.

The council approved a recommendation from the Rushford Municipal Electric Commission to hire Alliant Energy for $24,500 to test 35 pad-mounted energized transformers and six de-energized transformers.

The objective is to assess the current condition of equipment in service during the flood in order to determine a need for additional testing, maintenance, or replacement.

Unwelcome trees

Block reported that for a number of years, the FAA in its flyover inspection of the airport runway has commented on the trees at one end of the runway and recommended their removal.

No action has been taken and the trees have gotten taller.

Block says he learned that the trees could be properly removed by the winning bidder, with the FAA paying 95% of the cost and the city paying 5%.

Taking care of the trees now, finally, will "put us on good footing with the state," Block said. The council agreed and approved the letting of bids for the project.

Market Analysis

The council approved a proposal from the University of Minnesota Extension program to have a market analysis done on the area.

It will help the city and surrounding area "to know what to do with flooded buildings-what kind of business would go there," according to Block.

The Rushford Community Foundation has considered funding the study, which will cost $750.

Council approved, contingent on the Foundation's commitment.

Making hay at the airport

The council considered bids received by the Municipal Airport Commission regarding the rental of approximately 35 acres of cropland surrounding the airport runway. Three bids were submitted and the commission recommended a bid from Jim Woxland for $125 an acre.

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