By Roz Kohls
The Meeker County Board of Commissioners authorized Myron Dvorak, park superintendent, to apply for a $21,500 grant Tuesday to extend a trail in Spring Lake Park, north of Dassel.
Meeker County and the City of Dassel have proposed a project to extend a hiking and biking trail from the north side of Dassel to the southwest corner of Meeker County Spring Lake Park.
The grant from the Department of Natural Resources Local Trail Connections Program will fund $21,500, half of the total cost of the extension of the trail. The added trail will extend from the corner of the park to the lower park level, where the picnic shelters, well, restrooms, recreation area, shore fishing and boating areas and parking area are.
Dvorak told the board this will be the second time the county has applied for the grant. The DNR didn’t accept the first application last year.
The Dassel Red Rooster Committee is donating $1,500 to the proposed trail, and Dassel Township is donating $1,000, according to Commissioner Amy Wilde.
The proposed trail in the park will connect with a proposed 8-foot-wide bituminous trail or path that extends north from Dassel Elementary School, along Meeker County Road 4, to the park. The proposed bituminous path also is an extension of the school-to-school path along the north side of Highway 12. That is why the federal government has already provided $80,000 for the estimated $115,000 project.
Construction on the bituminous path is expected to begin this year.
In other park news, the board approved dividing the job duties of the campground manager at Koronis Park into two positions, manager and maintenance worker. The manager the county hires will be paid $2,400 per month for seven months and will have use of the house in the park for 12 months.
The board also approved hiring a campground host for $200 a month.
In addition, the board bought a 2008 Ford 4x4 pickup from Tangen Ford Mercury of Litchfield for $21,993, the lowest quote. The park board also received quotes from Fenton Motors of Litchfield for $23,388, and from Litchfield Chrysler for $27,030.
The park department had two Chevy pick up trucks, but one of the older models started to burn oil, Dvorak said. The new truck is an unexpected expense, so the park board will use park reserve funds for it.
The park board also will apply for a grant from the DNR for playground equipment and three cabins at the Koronis Regional Park. This extra equipment will cost $112,000. Stearns County is paying $22,400 in the joint project, and Meeker County will pay the same.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• appointed Mary Spreiter as information technician for an annual salary of $53,500. The county had 12 well-qualified applicants, but Spreiter had extensive experience in 911 and public safety, Wilde said.
• approved the passport photo fee to be $13 per set, and $6 for retakes or photographs for visas. County Treasurer Sharon Euerle said residents can get their birth certificates, fill out their applications, and receive the passport photos all in one place. Passport photos expire in 10 years for adults, and five years for children, Euerle said.
• agreed to an out-of-state travel request for an assistant county attorney to travel to North Carolina for prosecution training.
• noted that the 2008 Boat and Water grant for the county sheriff’s office dropped to $3,479 from $7,500 in 2003. Commissioner Wally Strand said he believes the many portable ice houses, which don’t require licenses, have caused the boat and water department to receive less money in license fees. As a result, the grant is smaller than it was before, he said.
• heard a report from County Administrator Paul Virnig that the salary schedule was changed for five male employees. The hospital and county employees were put in the same system. No extra money was put into salaries, but the five male employees must wait longer to get to the top step of the salary scale.
• listened to a report from Virnig that after the county contracted with Climate Makers for a boiler project in June 2005, the county’s gas costs dropped almost $37,000 by 2007.