September 24, 2007

No fence, but Dassel pond's steep banks to be rebuilt

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The City of Dassel will not be fencing any of the drainage holding ponds within the city limits.

The Dassel City Council heard last Monday that only Paynesville, out of the 30 or 40 cities that contract with city engineers Bolton & Menk, requires fencing around holding ponds, according to Barry Glienke, one of the civil engineers with the firm. Paynesville has a four-foot high chain link fence, he said.

Cokato has a fence around a holding pond that straddles a ditch, but it was paid for with state and federal funds. Cokato does not have an ordinance requiring pond fencing, said City Administrator Myles McGrath.

However, when Glienke compared the construction of the holding pond in the Galiger Lane development, with the plans for the construction, he found the banks were built twice as steep as they were proposed. The current banks have a 2:1 slope. The plans called for a 4:1 slope, Glienke said.

The holding pond is on property owned by Andrew Kociscak of Preferred Builders in Plymouth.

“In theory, you can mow a 3:1 slope,” Glienke said.

The bank’s current slope is even steeper, and why neither the developer and City Public Works Director Dave Scepaniak haven’t been able to mow the 18-inch to three-foot high weeds around the pond, Glienke said.

Because there are a minimum of 22 young children in the Galiger Lane development, the city is not waiting for Preferred Builders to correct the slope of the pond. The city is hiring Howard Nordberg of Nordberg Excavating of Dassel to rebuild the slopes. A bill for the construction then will be given to Preferred Builders, McGrath said.

McGrath didn’t have an estimate for how much the reconstruction will cost, but said Nordberg is fair.

The council was investigating its options with the holding pond because Brian Kimber, representing 24 families in the neighborhood, made a presentation Sept. 4 to the council about how dangerous the unfenced pond is.

Kimber also said the group complained about the high weeds around the pond and the empty lot across the street. The banks of the pond were so steep, the only way the weeds could be cut is by hand, Scepaniak said.

The group wanted the city or developer to fence the pond to protect the many children under 5 years of age in the neighborhood.

The holding pond is one of six within the city limits, McGrath said.

Last Monday, a resident contacted the city about another holding pond, also built by Preferred Builders, just outside the city, that city officials were not aware of, he added. It also is unsafe. Part of its shores are washed out.

“These ponds, which are a requirement of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources, were never contemplated for fencing,” McGrath said in the summary of the business item on the Sept. 4 agenda.

Council Member Al Dunn said it is still the responsibility of parents to watch over their children, not the city or developer’s to fence the pond.

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