The Redwood County Board of Commissioners got what it called concerning news during its Aug. 20 meeting.
According to Lon Walling, county commissioner, the building committee, which includes Walling and fellow commissioner Dennis Groebner, recently met with the property owner that shares the portion of the street north of the courthouse square. The county wants to vacate that street, but Walling indicated the other owner doesn’t.
According to Redwood Falls city ordinance, for a city street to be vacated a majority of the property owners on that street must sign off on that vacation.
In this case, said Walling, there are only two property owners. So, for the vacation to be approved that must be agreed to by both parties.
That, Walling reiterated, is not the case. He said the property owner is not opposed to the courthouse project, but is not in favor of vacating the street.
Now, said Walling, the board needs to decide how to proceed with the project, adding there are a few options available to the board.
The one that seems to be at the forefront for the county is to exercise what is known as eminent domain, and the board has directed the building committee to look into that process to determine if that is the best option.
The board could also decide to put the brakes on the project and come up with a new design.
Bob VanHee, county commissioner, again offered a suggestion he has raised a number of times, which would be to move the project further to the east and vacate a portion of Third Street.
Of course, the board also recognized that would mean a complete redesign of the project and added costs. It would also mean moving the project much farther into the future, and the majority of the board did not appear to have any interest in delaying the project.
While the building committee looks at its options for the project other aspects of the process are moving forward, and during its Aug. 20 meeting the board took action to approve the capital improvement plan that provides preliminary approval to the issuance of bonds.
As part of that plan, which was addressed during a public hearing Tuesday morning, the board established that it would bond no more than $10.5 million for the project. That does not mean it won’t bond less than that, but with that approval if there is a need to bond for more than $10.5 million the process would have to start over.
The board also accepted a proposal for bond counsel services from Kennedy and Graven of Minneapolis in the amount of $5,000.
In other action during its meeting, the board:
• Tabled the awarding of the bid for the CSAH 101 bridge project, as the bids came in in excess of $800,000 over the engineer’s estimate. Jeff Bommersbach, assistant county engineer, said he has spoken with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which was able to provide approximately half of the added funding, but the county needs to determine how it will pay for the other portion and will be meeting with Renville County to determine if it is willing to pay more for the project.
• Approved grant dollars for 11 county businesses as part of the Redwood County EDA development grant program. The board had approved a total of $25,000 for the grant, and Briana Mumme, Redwood County EDA director, said 38 project applications were submitted for the program. The EDA board narrowed that list down to the final 11.
According to Mumme, while the county is granting $25,000 for projects the total investment by the 11 businesses that were approved is $73,000.
• Accepted a grant in the amount of $10,000 from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs for the Redwood County Veterans Service Office.
• Accepted a crime victims services grant in the amount of $218,814 for the child advocacy center. As part of the agreement the county will provide a $39,615 in-kind match.