By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie City Council heard Jan. 13 about another option that could lead to extending the paved portion of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.
The proposed project would connect the existing paved trail to the City of Lester Prairie.
Jen Thiry, a member of the recently-formed trail task force, presented information to the council about a grant opportunity through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The maximum grant award under this program is $150,000, and there is a local match requirement of 25 percent. Thiry said if the city applied for and received the maximum amount, the local match would be $37,500.
Grants will be awarded in July, and approved projects will need to be completed by June 30, 2017.
Mayor Andy Heimerl noted this would allow time for the task force to raise funds to help with the local match.
The city would have to pay for the project up front, and the grant portion would be reimbursed at the completion of the project.
Heimerl said the city has funds available to cover the cost until it is reimbursed.
He said he supports moving forward with the grant application.
Council Member Ron Foust said the project area, which runs from the Carver County border to McLeod County Road 9, is outside city limits, so the task force may need to get McLeod County involved.
Thiry said the grant application is 19 pages, and will take time to complete. She said the task force wants to know if the city supports the idea before taking the time to apply for the grant.
The council, by consensus, supported the task force moving forward, noting that McLeod County may need to act as the sponsoring local unit of government.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• heard from building inspector Ty Turnquist the city issued 87 building permits in 2014, compared to 72 in 2013. The total value of the permits increased from $902,711 to $1,351,728. One permit was issued for a new single-family home in 2014, compared to two in 2013.
• accepted fire department officers for 2015. They are: Jim Hoof, chief 1; Dave Horsman, chief 2; Matt Tonn, chief 3; Scott Christenson, captain 1; Steve Dietel, captain 2; Chris Bahr, captain 3; Shadd Dial, secretary; and Paul Christenson, treasurer.
Relief association officers are: Josh Foust, president; Wade Schultz, vice president; Justin Thompson, secretary; Matt Tonn, treasurer; Steve Klobe and Dave Dressler, trustees.
• approved a variance removing setbacks from two lots owned by Jacob and Melissa Mochinski along Prairie Ridge Lane to allow them to combine the lots into a single parcel for construction of a single-family residence.
• approved a variance to change the zoning classification of a property owned by Maria and Jacinto Juarez on Pine Street from M-1 manufacturing to R-1 residential, and allow construction of a 30-by-40-foot garage on the property. A driveway to the adjacent trailer court is on the Juarez property, and will need to be moved by May 1.
• approved a contract with Bolton & Menk for engineering services. The contract reflects an aggregate increase of 3.1 percent for 2015.
• heard from Council Member Larry Hoof, who is the planning and zoning commission liaison, that there is still a vacancy on the commission. The group generally meets once per quarter. Residents interested in applying to fill the vacancy may contact the city office.
• heard from Council Member Eric Angvall the city has $122,000 in a revolving loan fund to help businesses. Angvall said the city should come up with a program to utilize these funds.