May 3, the Rushford Village Council conducted their annual tour of the city’s roadways. At the May 17 meeting, minutes from that tour were approved. According to those minutes, eight particular roads were visited and noted upon. They include Hillview Drive and Nordic Court in the Cedar Hill Park residential area, County Line Road, Ridgeview Road, Airport Drive, Vogan Drive, and Airport Road, which are all gravel roads in the north and west part of the city, and the paved streets within South Rushford.
In the Cedar Hill Park area, the council checked culvert work as well as reviewed the cul de sac on Nordic Court. According to the notes, snow will no longer be piled in the center of the cul de sac to allow room for emergency vehicles.
The council reviewed work on the South Rushford drainage project, particularly ditch work. The city has been taking a phased approach to numerous issues in the area and has completed work on areas adjacent to both Highway 43 and Highway 16. Griffin Construction will reseed areas along Highway 43.
Ditch work appears to be the greatest need. Curving County Line Road has areas in which the road is starting to wash, up the hill, on the ditch side and the council reviewed options including rip rap, gabion baskets, and widening the road further into the hillside and filling the washed area with removed materials. The top section of Ridgeview Road needs “a lot of rock” and will need ditch work before rock is applied to lower shoulders. Airport Road, too, needs work in multiple areas, due to washouts, but it was noted as difficult due to a natural gas line along and crossing the road.
Vogan Road also had washing, on a corner, but that has been addressed by Public Works Supervisor Trenten Chiglo. It is yet to be determined where the Rushford Village and Winona County line is when determining road maintenance. Street signs need to be replaced on both Vogen Road and Airport Drive.
During regular business, Councilor Roger Knutson requested the council discuss a road incident on Aspen Road, south of Ekern Hill, with farm machinery. Stating he’d discussed road clearing concerns with a resident, he suggested the city document all road work completed, particularly when there are citizen concerns. Clerk Mary Miner noted that all Public Works’ road work is documented, including the number of hours, equipment used, and work done.
“The first thing that should be talked about is that you can’t clear every road and have every road cleared all the time,” said Knutson. “It’s the direction we’re heading with more staff, but at this time, we’re still trying to catch up. As of today, we’re heading in that direction. We’re trying to move forward.”
Mayor Dennis Overland noted that he’d spoken to the concerned party and agreed everything should remain documented. Councilor Mike Ebner indicated he’d looked at the area and that the road looked good where the incident was.
“As long as we’re showing that we’re trying,” added Knutson. “All we can do is say here’s our program and here’s what we’re trying to do, because we’re not there to see it when things happen.”
“The documentation… it’s there,” said Miner.
The council also discussed the need to renew the trash contract. It’s been suggested to the city by Harter’s Quick Clean Up Service that it would be financially beneficial to extend the current contract rather than put out a new bid for services.
Miner noted that the contract should be changed so that the city no longer owns the carts. At $120 a piece for replacement, she noted it’s getting expensive. “It’s getting more since they went automated,” she noted. “Harter’s will put tickets on ones they think need to be replaced. It’s been increasing since they started automated.” The city gets a $.50 break, per household, for owning the carts. “I’m hoping they buy them back.”
“I wouldn’t mind hearing them, I guess,” noted Ebner. The council will invite Jeff Holmquist, sales manager for Harter’s, to attend the next meeting.
During the Community Economic Development Associates update from Rebecca Charles, the council learned that the input sessions for the recreational trails study are complete and a video copy is available. Final reports will be coming from the work done by the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse students, going through each of the sections and including concerns and statistics. The second portion of the project will be led by Professor Dr. Laurie Harmon.
Charles also noted that the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation has just announced its Small Towns Grant for health, wellness, and economic development. Grant applications are due June 23. Charles and city staff have discussed various options for the grant application and funding, if approved, and they include expanding and repaving the Village Hall parking lot, replacing a merry-go-round in poor condition at the hall playground with a handicap accessible option, or assisting with payment for the second half of the trail study.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, June 7, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.