The July 12 Rushford council meeting was unusually brief, but it did contain discussion and updates on various projects and ongoing negotiation of the possible purchase of the former Farmers Win Cooperative site.
First up, one of two items of general business, was the approval of appointing election judges for the November General Election. A number of the volunteers are new. It’s unclear if the city will need them all, but extra volunteers were an exciting prospect. The appointed judges are Heather Larson, Louane Davidson, Juliann Frick, Jennifer Hengel, Burton Svendson, Pattie Thompson, Kati Welti, and Zenessa Anderson.
The construction of the road to the new Root River Canoe Launch is getting closer. A grant should be in place by early August. City Engineer Derek Olinger, of Bolton & Menk, had advised the council previously to seek quotes, but not to dictate a specific timeline for contractors. This should allow contractors greater flexibility and therefore potentially lower pricing for the city. There was some concern over whether or not this thinking would actually yield savings.
“It’s a lot of materials though. I’ve been hearing that without timelines you’re pretty much dead in the water,” cautioned Councilor Sally Ryman.
City Clerk Kathy Zacher noted that all bidders will have the engineer’s spec sheet, which will include all necessary materials. “They can squeeze us in around other work. Otherwise, it might not be as attractive to bid; if they have a deadline,” she said.
The launch access road has been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and Fillmore County have also been involved in the process. “All to build a road over a dike to a canoe launch,” noted Council Jim O’Donnell.
The previous launch, between Highway 16 and the Root River, would be used for a family fishing area. Zacher noted the DNR was in favor of new launch, as the previous goes through other properties and it’s unclear whether documents for proper ingress/egress are on record.
An update on the 2022 Highway 30 project was also given at the meeting. Property acquisitions were to be notarized July 13. Only two or three properties haven’t been paid for their portions. MnDOT continues to seek temporary housing for the west-end property, which needs to be removed for the project.
“That’s MnDOT’s issue,” said Zacher. “They’re having trouble finding a place for this family to rent or buy.” The new housing must be comparable to what they’re paying now and MnDOT will provide six months of rent. There is potential for purchase using the funds allocated by the department. The project is on track for approval in October for bidding in January.
Lastly, the council has been advised to move up their decision regarding any offer for purchase on the former Farmers Win site downtown. The company has requested a July 28 decision regarding the offers. The Economic Development Authority was to discuss the matter July 14 and bring a recommendation to the next council meeting.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is Monday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m., at city hall. It is open to the public.