The Redwood County Board of Commissioners is hoping it will receive a little help from the City of Redwood Falls as it moves forward with the plan to vacate a portion of the city street located north of the courthouse.

After its initial effort to have an adjacent property owner sign a petition to vacate that part of the street, the county board moved forward looking at other options, and among them is a request for the city to vacate the street.

The county board is hoping to discuss the request with the city as part of its Sept. 17 meeting and will ask to be placed on the agenda to talk about the possibility of having the city vacate that portion of the street.

Lon Walling, county commissioner, said if the city approves that request or if it denies it and the county then moves forward with the eminent domain process he anticipates there is going to be a legal challenge.

“We should be ready for that,” said Walling.

Bob VanHee asked about his idea to move the entire project east. According to Vicki Knobloch, county administrator, that plan would require vacating the portion of Third Street between the law enforcement center and the old human services building, and on the east end of that street are two property owners that would have to sign off on that petition. 

In addition, Knobloch said the building would be required to be at least 20 feet from the law enforcement center. The idea, said Knobloch, would require further vetting, and all of that would cost a lot of money.

Bruce Verdoes, a Redwood County resident, attended the meeting and asked why this part of the project was not addressed much earlier in the process. Instead of doing it in the ninth hour would it not have made more sense to make that action one of the first steps, he asked.

Board members stated they had initial conversations with the property owner and were under the impression that things were moving forward, but as time went on things changed. Yes, they agreed, that action is one that should have been fully addressed early in the process.

Verdoes also asked if the project architect, Wold Architects and Engineers, bears some responsibility in not getting that done earlier.

The board will continue to move forward with the project as planned as it continues to address the issue of vacating the street, and if the request to the city is denied then it will move forward with what it determines is the next best option.

In other action during its Sept. 3 meeting, the county board:

• Approved a highway pavement striping contract with AAA Striping Service of St. Michael at a cost of $387,503. 97. The plan is to stripe approximately 50 lane miles in the county under this contract, which includes grinding a six-inch groove on the roadway for the fog line and then painting the white line into that grove. That, said Jeff Bommersbach, county assistant engineer, should last longer.

• Approved the bid for the CSAH 101 bridge over the Minnesota River. According to Bommersbach, Renville County has agreed to cover half of the additional cost of the project. The bid was approximately $800,000 over the estimate, and Bommersbach said the Minnesota Department of Transportation is going to cover approximately half of that amount ($385,000), with Redwood County and Renville County then splitting the remaining costs (approximately $425,000). Bommersbach also said the plan would be to work on the bridge this fall, adding an announcement will be made before the bridge is closed. He said the closure is going to have an impact on the community, especially some businesses and the local school district, adding once the bridge closes it will likely be that way for about a year. The approved detour will also be announced at the time of the closure.