By Lynda Jensen
Expansion and remodeling of the Dassel Museum is nearing completion, with the new addition to be ready for the public at the end of this month, according to action during the Dassel City Council meeting last Monday.
The expansion features a fair-sized community room that can accommodate up to 240 people, complete with projector equipment and a kitchen.
Museum Director Carolyn Holje said that two wedding receptions are already scheduled for the community room so far.
The Dassel Area Historical Society has raised $338,000 so far, but is $25,000 short of its commitment toward the expansion project, Holje said. A recent donation of $10,000 is included in that amount, she added.
The total bills approved at the council meeting amounted to $11,368, Administrator Myles McGrath said, bringing the grand total, to date, to $489,131. At this point, the city needs to meet with the fire marshal, building inspector, elevator people, and others for final checks, McGrath said.
Seats are up on P&Z
Turning to other matters, the council noted that four seats out of five are up on the Dassel planning commission, a seat vacated by newly elected Mayor Mike Scanlon, and three seats that are at the end of the normal cycles; Jeff Loven, Deb Suchy and Mike Enerson. Loven has agreed to stay, Suchy was out of town, and Enerson did not respond yet. Scanlon’s seat is yet to be filled. The fifth seat is served by Jack Adams.
The council tabled the subject and is expected to make appointments at its next meeting Monday, March 16.
Meeker deputy to be re-assigned; Dassel spot to be advertised
A familiar face, Deputy Bill Hudson, has been re-assigned to the Watkins area, since Meeker County recently picked up that contract for law enforcement services. He regretfully informed the council of his new assignment, saying that his knowledge was needed elsewhere and that his services would be “backfilled” by Dr. Jeffrey Ho, Todd Sandeen, and others. He also noted that Dan Lang, former chief of police in Howard Lake, started his first day as an investigator that day. “They will be hiring for the Dassel spot,” Hudson told the council.
He has already attended one Watkins meeting, he said. However, there is a chance he may be back to serve Dassel some time later, he said.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved $200 toward the Highway 15 coalition in dues. This coalition lobbies for safety, capacity and corridor preservation needs along State Trunk Highway 15 between St. Cloud and Fairmont. It was noted that there are three different districts for MnDOT in this area.
• approved $1,250 as a donation toward the Southwest Initiative Fund. Bob Wilde noted that Dassel businesses have benefited in the past from funds through this organization, which is based in Hutchinson.
Scanlon suggested at first scaling back the donation to half the amount. Council Member Pat Haapala suggested giving $200. Lalone said that the city set aside money in its discretionary funds for this type of expense.
“That’s what discretionary funds are for,” he said. The council ended up approving the full amount. McGrath noted the importance of encouraging businesses to take advantage of what they have to offer.
• tabled the contract for building inspections services with Kevin Piepenberg, who is the inspector contracted by Meeker County. Scanlon wished to run the agreement by the city attorney. It is based on an agreement that Darwin uses, and if adopted, would include a lower fee than Mid-Minnesota, which was previously used. Mid-Minnesota ended its services in September, and the city was left to use an interim inspector since then. The council is expected to act on this agreement by the next council meeting Monday, March 16.
• noted that the League of Minnesota Cities will conduct its annual conference Wednesday through Friday, June 24-26 at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
• heard from Dave Scepaniak of Public Works that his crew has actively worked on refurbishing the sweeper without sending it out to be done commercially. The sweeper is 10 years old.