By Roz Kohls
Meeker County Board of Commissioners gave permission to the highway department Tuesday to advertise for bids for the Dassel Bike Trail.
The bituminous trail will be eight feet wide and start at Evangelical Covenant Church of Dassel at First Street North. It will extend north of Dassel along Meeker County Road 4 to the Wallace Nikolai property, between 238th and 240th Streets. There, it will turn east to the southwest corner of Meeker County Spring Lake Park, according to County Highway Engineer Ron Mortensen.
The bike trail is an extension of the school-to-school path along the north side of Highway 12 between Dassel Elementary School and the Dassel Cokato High School and middle school complex. As a result, it was eligible for federal money, $80,000, for the estimated $115,000-project.
In other highway department business, the county is continuing negotiations with a third property owner, Silver Creek Farm, for an easement to widen Meeker County State Aid Highway 15. The assistant county attorney Beth Cummins also has received permission from the county board to use the eminent domain process, if necessary, for two other strips of property along CSAH 15. Those property owners are Thomas and Meribeth Reynolds and R.D.D. Farms, Ltd.
The two strips of land are each 17 feet wide and approximately 1,000 feet long.
The county intends to widen CSAH 15 to 50 feet, from 33 feet. The road will be graded this summer for $1.5 million. In 2009, the road will be surfaced with bituminous for $1.9 million.
Also related to CSAH 15, some property near the road has become a drainage problem. The property owner has an undersized drainage pipe on his land that is bottling up drainage and forcing water onto CSAH 15, according to Commissioner Amy Wilde.
In addition, the same property owner previously crossed his neighbor’s land along Meeker County Ditch 15, which is the stream bed of Silver Creek between Lake Washington and Collinwood Lake, to get to his 30 acres behind the neighbor’s property. Nothing was in writing. but the arrangement worked for several years.
The neighbor sold his property to a new owner, however, and the new owner won’t allow the first property owner access to his 30 acres in the back.
The first property owner asked the county board for permission to install a culvert crossing on CD 15 so he can get to landlocked acres behind his neighbor.
The county board decided Tuesday he may have the crossing, but he must pay for it himself. In addition, Mortensen will determine the size of the culvert needed, according to the county ordinance, Wilde said.
Mortensen also requested permission to advertise for three seasonal highway aides, disc mower quotes, and quotes for a roller attachment to a road grader.
In addition, the board agreed to pay $200 for Trunk Highway 15 Coalition dues.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• heard a report from Commissioner Dave Gabrielson that fundraising by the foundation for the Meeker County Memorial Hospital expansion has been amazingly successful. Mike Boyle, director of the foundation, said Wednesday that the first phase of the campaign raised $1.02 milllion. The second phase, which is open to the community-at-large, begins now.
• terminated the county’s solid waste regional system joint powers agreement with Redwood County. A recycling company, Home Source Technology, had been burning trash to create steam power.
About four years ago, the county contributed $9,000 to the project. The company has been privatized, so a portion of those funds will be given back to the county, according to County Administrator Paul Virnig.
• approved the gambling permit for Kickers Bar & Grill of Litchfield so that the American Legion Post 96 of Hutchinson will receive the bar’s gambling receipts.