September 9, 2010 at 9:07 a.m.
The County Board voted 4-1 with Ben Montzka opposed, to allow the easement the township sought. Montzka asked for the county park board to forward a recommendation before he would act.
The easement (space within park boundaries to place a new bridge structure) was expanded by a few feet. The county park sits on both sides of the river, with the Kost Historic Dam site as its central feature. The one lane bridge on a township road that dissects the park, has been of concern to township officials and has been given load weight restrictions. The township has decided it needs to be replaced, particularly of concern are firetrucks, snowplow trucks and school busses.
Reportedly the township will install an "arched culvert" style bridge. There were no supervisors available to provide information.
The county commissioners heard from four people who asked the Board to delay this action.
Retired County Engineer Ken Anderson lives near the park. He told the Board once the bridge is improved traffic speeds will increase, creating hazardous conditions for park visitors. Anderson said there are people who want to look into "historic bridge" funding programs. Martha Arnold, another park neighbor, said she wanted the "process slowed" and a comprehensive planning effort pursued to integrate the existing bridge with park uses.
County Board Chair Rick Greene said this issue has been before the township for over a year. There's been plenty of time to work with the Township Board supervisors, and it is their decision. Commissioner George McMahon agreed, questioning if it's the "county's role" to interject delays into this process when it isn't a county road and it isn't a county-owned bridge.
County Administrator John Moosey said other government units grant the county easements or provide actual property when projects are pending, and said, "This is for a public purpose, when we need it, others give us right-of-way."
In other public works matters-- the Board approved a request from the county engineer to hire consulting engineers to provide design service for bridge replacement plans. (The bridge priority lists have been covered in previous newspaper stories.) The designs are needed by February 2011 to qualify for non-county levy funding available for infrastructure projects.
Two smaller projects were awarded to bidders.
Knife River Contracting got the CSAH 8 mill and overlay for $46,750. And, County Road 55, between 361 and the Rush City lift station, mill and overlay for $69,000, was awarded to Hardrives.
The commissioners had a work session on the county's 2011 budget during the day of last week's evening regular meeting. No action's been taken yet on setting a preliminary levy for next year. The deadline is September 15. The county taxation hearing will be December 1.