By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN “It would be a shame if this thing goes to seed,” Mayor Mike Scanlon commented of the DC Trail during last Monday’s council meeting.
Scanlon was referring to the city of Dassel participating in repair of the path between Dassel and Cokato by giving $25,000 less the cost of the seal coating done last year which was later voted down by the council.
He informed the council that the DC Trail Board would not be applying for other grants through the DNR, which would require the path to be widened by 2 feet.
The scale of the project was becoming too big, with an estimated cost of $500,000 for complete reconstruction, Scanlon explained.
Instead, the trail board would look at repairing the worst areas in hopes of getting $25,000 from each of the four entities the cities of Dassel and Cokato, Dassel Township, and the school district.
Scanlon, who serves on the trail board, also noted that the board was looking at a contribution of $500 a year by each entity in order to seal coat the path every three years as part of ongoing maintenance.
With a trail board meeting the following afternoon, Scanlon needed to know whether or not the council was on board.
Council Member Jason Benzing expressed that he was fine with it as long as the portion the city already spent, would be deducted.
Scanlon suggested the amount be taken from the streets and roads funds. Council Member Bob Lalone asked Public Works Director Dave Scepaniak if this would cause any projects to be jeopardized.
Scepaniak said there are a lot of projects still pending on what the city decides to do, particularly in Summit Hills.
Lalone asked how much it would cost to seal coat the trail and make the necessary repairs. The trail board did not have those figures yet, Scanlon explained.
In a motion made by Scanlon, seconded by Benzing, the vote to spend $25,000 on repairs was rejected by council members Wayne Medcraft, Bob Lalone, and Jack Adams.
Council sets public hearing for playground grant
In hopes of receiving a DNR outdoor recreation grant to help purchase new playground equipment in Railroad Park (Atlantic Avenue and Third/Fourth Street), the city has set a public hearing for Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m.
City Administrator Myles McGrath explained that the equipment will be geared for ages 2-5. Equipment for this age group doesn’t currently exist in the community, he said.
“It will be a unique setting for young families to bring their toddlers to,” he said.
The total cost of project is $24,000, with up to $13,000 in local matches. It was noted that this would include in-kind construction by volunteers and donations from local organizations.
Council applies for DNR trail grant
The council approved applying for a DNR grant through its local trail connections program to connect the DC Trail with the Meeker County Spring Lake Park Trail.
The original idea was to connect the two trails by winding through Breeds Park and going along the elementary school.
The estimated cost of the trail is $135,000, with the grant requiring a 25 percent match, or $35,000.
It was noted that there is no money in the parks and recreation fund, but that the project wouldn’t begin until next year.
It was also noted that the city could always turn the grant down if they don’t have funds for it when the time comes.
Voting for the motion was Scanlon, Medcraft, Benzing, and Adams. Lalone voted against it.
Red Rooster committee update
During a Red Rooster committee update, Medcraft informed the council the committee was ordering T-shirts for volunteers to wear during the festivities.
It also increases it ambassador scholarships from $750 to $1000.
In addition, the barbecue pits are in need of some repair and the committee is looking into making more handicapped parking.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved a uniform ordinance fee schedule presented by Meeker County Attorney Stephanie Beckman. As asked by the council prior, Beckman was unable to obtain the exact percentage the city receives per citation.
She did provide monthly amounts and said the city’s revenue from the fines should increase with the new e-citations.
• tabled a lease agreement with ProWorks for the Monday, April 2 meeting.
• approved the annual renewal of consumption and display permit for Thirsty’s Tavern.
• approved a re-classification of land for outlots B and F in the Summit Hills Addition from residential to conservation land. The parcels will continue to be used for retention and detention ponds.
• approved a re-districting resolution reaffirming the city’s polling place Dassel City Hall, 460 Third Street.
• approved a resolution reaffirming the city’s position prohibiting the use of alcohol and tobacco use within city facilities and vehicles unless permitted by the city. It was noted this is done annually for insurance renewal through the League of Minnesota Cities.
• was informed that the DNR tree grant to combat emerald ash borer was successful. More information will be provided at the next meeting.