By Roz Kohls
Now that the federally-funded Dassel Bike Path is almost complete, the Meeker County Board of Commissioners turned its attention Tuesday to extending the path into Meeker County Spring Lake Park.
The county had planned two paths to extend down the hill from where the Dassel Bike Path ends at the southwest corner of the park. The 700-foot branch of the path was proposed to go all the way to where most of the Dassel Cokato community education activities will be, where the ball park and most of the shelters are, according to Myron Dvorak, county park superintendant.
The other 300- to 400-foot path goes to the shelter and the main parking lot.
However, the county is short $32,500 for the estimated $45,000 project. The county’s park board applied twice for a $23,000 grant, but was denied both times.
The board discussed several options, including doing only the base work. However, the path needs to be handicap-accessible. The Dassel Bike Path ends at the top of a hill, so base work would erode down to the lake, pointed out Commissioner Amy Wilde.
Also, the lower branch of the path is the part that is really needed, she added.
“It’s poor for us not to do the lower portion,” Dvorak agreed.
County Administrator Paul Virnig said the park fund for the county as a whole has $90,000 in it. He recommended advertising for bids for both portions of the path to at least find out how much each costs separately. If the upper portion is too costly to do this summer, the county will start on the bottom portion only, he said.
County Engineer Ron Mortensen already drew up plans for the project and prepared estimates for the project’s expenses, Dvorak said.
Wilde also reported the shouldering crew on the 8-foot-wide bituminous bike trail, extending north from Dassel on Meeker County Road 4, partly damaged the black top. The contractor won’t be paid until the imperfections are fixed, she said.
Odds and ends
In other business, the county board:
• hired Brenda Isaacson of Litchfield as a full-time registered nurse for the public health department, and Kayla Bowers of Willmar, a recent graduate of Concordia College, Moorhead, as a family health nurse.
• approved having Bonniwell Electric of Dassel repair and remove power meter posts for four lots in the mobile home park at Todd Street in Dassel for $395.
• granted a conditional use permit to John Piepenburg of Litchfield for vehicle sales and service, and to Keith Nothnagel of Litchfield for 10 heavy, 9-foot-by-8-foot-by-20-foot steel box storage units.