By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN McLeod County Commissioner Ron Shimanski has organized a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 1 at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club to address drainage issues and how they can be resolved.
Residents in Baldwin Court, a small development southwest of Lester Prairie, have been struggling with rising water, and have brought their concerns to the county board.
Shimanski explained the issue involves water accumulating in a former gravel pit on the east side of the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club property.
Shimanski said he first brought this to the attention of the county board last year.
This year, Shimanski said, the problem is worse. He noted two residents from Baldwin Court, John Pafko and Scott Borst, addressed the county board during the public comment period of the June 3 board meeting. They also presented photos of their properties.
As a result, Shimanski, along with County Environmentalist Roger Berggren and Assistant County Engineer Phil Schmalz, met with Baldwin Court property owners to assess the situation.
The question was raised as to whether the problem was caused when the county completed a road project on McLeod County Road 1.
Shimanski said the subsoil in the former gravel pit is primarily gravel, and, in the past, water typically drained away.
However, since 2011, the pit has been retaining more water, Shimanski said.
One resident told him the water level is 18 inches higher than his basement floor.
Residents have been spending thousands of dollars trying to keep water away from their homes, Shimanski said.
He explained that the county’s initial review shows “nothing obvious” in terms of county responsibility. He said the county is asking for help from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hydrologist and others to try to arrive at a resolution for the problem.
“The county attorney is telling us it’s a private property issue,” Shimanski said, noting it appears the problems are all on private property, not on county property or right-of-way.