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Moratorium for the Cokato EDA approved by the city council
Monday, May 21, 2012

By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

COKATO, MN – For more than a year, Cokato’s Economic Development Authority has been short one member, and recruitment efforts have failed to produce new candidates.

Recently, another member, Dean Perry, has resigned his position on the EDA.

Due to the lack of interest for community members to be part of the EDA, and lack of business stimulation that has been produced by the EDA, the Cokato Council approved putting a moratorium on the EDA at its meeting Monday.

“If something does come up, we can spring into action,” said council and EDA member Butch Amundsen.

The council also approved discontinuing its monthly contract with Municipal Development Group (MDG) since there are no impending projects, but MDG’s consulting services will be called upon and used on a case-by-case basis.

The EDA has contracted with MDG to provide marketing and business development assistance.

Gust Akerlund Studio repairs

The council agreed to share in 50 percent of the cost for repairs to the Gust Akerlund Studio after being informed the Cokato Museum had been turned down for a grant from the state historical society to complete the repairs.

The museum could wait to apply for a grant in the June grant cycle, but would not know until about mid-August if it successfully received the grant, according to Museum Director Mike Worcester.

It was also noted that the Cokato Museum has received approximately $50,000 in grants in the last 15 years, and will not always be picked to receive a grant.

There are two areas of concern at the studio. First, the south side of the building needs to be primed and painted.

Second, the siding, trim, and entry doors on the east side of the building need to be repaired or replaced, and a vapor shield and new insulation installed, according to Worcester.

All of the repairs and maintenance have to comply with the standards set forth by the secretary of the interior’s standards for a nationally-registered historic property, Worcester said.

The repairs at Akerlund Studio should not exceed $6,000, Worcester added.

In an effort to quell rumors which have been surfacing about the building, Worcester informed the council in a letter that the building was not “falling apart,” nor are there any critter infestations, and the staff is aware of its condition and the situation.

Darrel Miller retiring

Public Works employee Darrel Miller has submitted his retirement, effective Aug. 1, and will be using up his accumulated vacation time before that date.

In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, the council approved advertising to recruit a new public works employee to be appointed within the next 45 days.

Sanitary sewer line extension

“We found out last week, the future is here,” said Mayor Gordy Erickson regarding development along US Highway 12 on the east side of Cokato.

Although a sewer line was put in place when Hwy. 12 was updated about 10 years ago, the former Palo building was never connected to the sewer line.

The new owner, Andy DeCock would like the building connected to the sanitary sewer line, according to Erickson.

However, due to overhead utilities in the area, using a large backhoe to dig the line may be prohibitive, according to Public Works Director Jeff DeGrote.

He suggested a better option would be to place a small lift station in the area and then connect to the main sewer line.

Due to the time line in which the connection has to be made, the council directed the public works committee to make a decision regarding how to proceed with the sewer extension.

Street repairs and sealcoating

The council approved a number of street repairs at a cost of $31,326. It also approved a call for bids to complete sealcoat the streets north of Hwy. 12.

Some of the repairs have to be made due to watermain breaks, including Third Street and Mooers Avenue, Third Street and Swanson Avenue, and the alley behind city hall.

The repairs at Third Street and Mooers Avenue may cost more than the proposed $8,569, depending on what the county approves, DeGrote said.

If the current plans submitted are approved, the city would mill out the temporary pavement where the watermain repairs took place, add risers for the manhole covers, and replace the pavement, DeGrote said.

However, county ordinance calls for the replacement of pavement from curb to curb when a repair is made in a driving lane, which would increase the cost of the repairs.

Also included in the repair plans are two public parking lots; Railroad Park, and the lot at Third Street West and Jenks Avenue (outside of the Iron Horse Grill and Saloon).

“Didn’t we do that one last year?” asked Amundsen of the Third Street and Jenks parking lot.

DeGrote reminded the council that only the center was repaired in that parking lot last year.

Only the western one-third of the parking lot, which is in the worst shape, would be repaved, DeGrote noted.

The cost to repair Railroad Park’s parking lot is $351. Third Street and Jenks Avenue’s parking lot will cost $7,772.

Repairs will also be made for two private parties; the east trailer court, and a private residence on Pleasant Avenue.

The cost of those repairs, which total $1,431, will be paid by the private parties.

Other repairs will be made at:

• Sixth Street and Johnson Avenue (trailer court entrance);

• Sixth Street and Jackson Avenue, near the elementary school;

• an area in the 600-block of Seventh Street; and,

• the corner at Klarsyn Street.

Trail update

The DC Trail Board has come to a general consensus that a grant will not be awarded for the work that needs to be done, so it will go forward with minimal repairs to Dassel-Cokato Regional Trail without seeking a grant, Erickson informed the council.

The money that each entity approved as a match for a grant will be used to repair the trail from 735th Street, outside of Dassel, to the Meeker County line; and from Cokato Town and Country Club, to one mile west.

Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix estimated the cost of repairs to be $63,000.

The trail board will be working out a maintenance agreement between the cities of Dassel and Cokato, Dassel Township, and Dassel-Cokato School District for maintenance of the trail, which includes sealcoating every three years.

Wastewater pond cleaning update

Land is lined up for the sediment which is scheduled to be cleaned from the wastewater treatment facilities ponds, but a soil analysis is needed before it will be approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, DeGrote informed the board.

However, only 140 acres are lined up, and as much as 280 acres may be needed for the 2.1 to 2.2 million gallons of material which will be removed from the ponds, DeGrote said.

Council Member Ken Bakke asked if there would be any attempt to dry the sediment on site, which would cut back on the acreage needed.

That had not been considered, since there is a limited time span in which it can be applied to crop fields, DeGrote said.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved the sale of the 1981 Ford fire pumper to Kelly Construction in the amount of $2,000.

• accepted the quote of $3,840 from Tom Entinger Flooring to replace the tile in the entry, hallway, and office of the library and community room.

• approved the community pool appointments for the 2013 season.

• approved sponsoring Brooks Lake Association for a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources grant to improve water quality at Brooks Lake.

• approved splitting the cost of replacing the lift station with the Dassel-Cokato School District, contingent on the school board approving the cost-split.

The lift station serves the school campus and two residences, and the cost to replace it is about $300,000.

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