By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Residents, McLeod County staff, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff gathered at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club Tuesday evening to discuss drainage issues in the area of Baldwin Court west of Lester Prairie.
McLeod County Commissioner Ron Shimanski, who organized the town hall meeting, said 30 to 40 residents attended the meeting to share concerns and discuss possible solutions.
McLeod County commissioners Paul Wright and Jon Christensen also attended, as did County Engineer John Brunkhorst, Assistant County Engineer Phil Schmalz, County Attorney Mike Junge, County Environmentalist Roger Berggren, Kathy Nowak of public health nursing, Zoning Administrator Larry Gasow, Emergency Management Director Kevin Mathews, and DNR Area Hydrologist Garry Bennett.
Shimanski said it was a good discussion.
Several residents shared concerns, including longtime residents who provided a historical perspective.
Some indicated that they have not had issues in the past, but have been pumping large volumes with sump pumps this year, Shimanski said, noting this year has seen unusually high rainfall amounts.
County engineers will continue the investigation, including conducting surveys to determine elevation of culverts in the area.
Bennett will help assess the flow of stormwater.
The objectives identified at the meeting, according to Shimanski, are how to get the current water levels under control, and how to prevent further incursion.
Efforts will focus on how to lower the level of the pond along McLeod County Road 1 east of the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club.
Shimanski said the levels are higher than normal. In the past, a chain link fence was erected around the former gravel pit, and recently, the water level has been over the top of the fence.
The second objective, moving forward, Shimanski said, will be to examine the drainage west of the Sportsmen’s Club along McLeod County Road 1, Cable Avenue, and west of Cable Avenue.
Shimanski said normally, he would anticipate water from that area would drain south to the Crow River, but currently, excess stormwater is running over driveways to the east, and there is no other outlet than to accumulate in the Baldwin Court area.
Several residents asked Shimanski to schedule another meeting after possible solutions to the problem have been identified. He said he will schedule a meeting, but a date will not be set until the matter has been investigated and more useful information is available.