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Cokato to apply for legacy grant for the DC Regional Trail
Oct. 17, 2011

By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

COKATO, MN – Members of the Dassel-Cokato Regional Trail board are hoping the third time’s a charm for applying for a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources legacy grant.

A public hearing Tuesday regarding the grant application took place during the Cokato City Council meeting, because the city of Cokato has agreed to act as legal sponsor for the grant.

The estimated cost of the project to repair the trail is $220,000, and the amount being applied for is $176,000, with a 20 percent match from the local entities, informed Dassel Mayor Mike Scanlon, DC Regional Trail board chair.

The local entities that have signed a mutual agreement for the project and are part of the board are the cities of Dassel and Cokato, the DC School District, and Dassel Township.

“Wasn’t Cokato Township originally part of this?” asked Cokato Council Member Butch Amundsen.

Scanlon informed the council that it was, and Cokato Township also assisted in building the trail 13 years ago, but it is no longer interested in the trail.

“So the rest of us are left paying for a trail, the majority of which is in Cokato Township,” Amundsen noted.

Although that was the case, there were donations coming from other townships, as well as private individuals, to assist with the project and future maintenance of the trail, Scanlon said.

Scanlon noted how important the trail was to the two communities which it connects and the school.

“This is a big thing, it’s a big part of our communities,” Scanlon said.

Cokato City Council approved the grant application, as well as a mutual agreement for the DC Regional Trail project.

The mutual agreement for the DC Regional Trail establishes a committee with representatives from each of the entities that agree to provide funding to maintain the trail.

Although Amundsen voted to approve the grant application and the mutual agreement, he objected to the fact that Cokato Township refused to have anything to do with the trail.

“At one time, they said they were going to set aside money to help with the project,” Amundsen said. “I find it ludicrous they are not going to participate.”

Mayor Gordy Erickson noted that he had asked Cokato Township at one time to set aside money in its budget to help with the project, but it wouldn’t.

Amendment to stormwater discharge ordinance approved

A final draft of an ordinance amendment pertaining to the city’s sanitary sewer lines and stormwater discharge was approved by the council.

The ordinance prohibits the discharge of stormwater into the city’s sanitary sewer system, and establishes the right of the city to require inspections of properties verifying stormwater is discharged properly.

Property owners may have a private plumber inspect their property if they are not comfortable with the city entering their property.

New buildings, as well as those offered for sale, will be expected to comply with the new drainage restrictions.

Sanitary sewer update

Removal of sludge from one of the sanitary sewer ponds will likely have to wait until next year, reported Public Works Director Jeff DeGrote.

A farmer has shown interest in allowing the sludge to be placed on his fields, but tests still had to take place to determine the types of metals in the sludge first, DeGrote said.

Although DeGrote is hopeful repairs will still take place this year, the city is waiting to receive all the bids from contractors to make the repairs.

The deadline for bids is Wednesday, Oct. 19, and work can begin once a quote is approved by the city council, DeGrote said.

In order to alleviate stormwater issues faced by residents at Second Street and Swanson Avenue, engineer Eric Lembke of Bonestroo recommended installing a new storm sewer at Second Street and Lee Avenue at a cost of $70,000 to $75,000.

The existing storm sewer at Swanson Avenue could not be improved cost-effectively to address the issues, but a new storm sewer at Second Street and Lee Avenue would reduce the flow to Swanson by nearly 50 percent, Lembke said in his report.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• heard and reviewed reports regarding the Cokato Public Library, the Corn Carnival Committee, and the Cokato Museum and historical society.

• authorized advertising for attendants and maintenance personnel at the Cokato skating rink for the 2011-12 season.

• approved a revolving rehabilitation loan, as recommended by the Economic Development Authority, for 220 Broadway Avenue South, owned by Rob Swendra – American Family Insurance.

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