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Menahga CSAH 21 construction scheduled to commence in June

CSAH 21 construction will not affect Menahga's Midsummer Festival, slated for July 10-12. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)1 / 2
CSAH 21 (First Street NE) construction will be divided into three phases and is scheduled to begin in June. (Graphic by Ulteig Engineers)2 / 2

Planning for the Menahga CSAH 21 construction project is progressing.

Ulteig engineers Chris Thorson and Aaron Lauinger presented the latest updates on the project to the public and the council earlier this week before getting council's approval to start the contractors' bidding process.

The engineers said MnDOT determined the cost share for storm sewer to be 81 percent paid by Wadena County and 19 percent by the city.

"Being that major component of the storm sewer is attributed to the state's project of widening the road...the state recognizes that a lot of that is on their behalf," Lauinger said.

The underground utility construction will be split into three phases.

The first phase will cover ripping up the old road from Cedar Avenue to the nursing home access road and putting in underground water and sewer utilities before rebuilding.

The second phase of construction will begin at the nursing home access road and continue up to the north end of the city limits.

A detour route during the second phase will be set up from County Road 23 to County Road 17 to get back into town.

Oak Avenue and East Blueberry Drive will be constructed during the third phase of the project. Utility construction and street paving for those two roads will have a separate bid amount, which the city will have the option to delete from the project.

The engineers also reported that a number of trees will be affected by the project. Property owners will be reimbursed for any trees that must be removed.

Construction is scheduled to begin in June.

Mayor Tom Larson asked the engineers if construction would affect Menahga's midsummer celebration to be held July 10-12.

Thorson said the crew could work until noon the day prior to the celebration and take a break for that weekend of the summer.

In other business:

-Cheryl Hills of Region Five Development Commission gave a presentation about comprehensive planning.

"A comprehensive plan is the vision of a community on how to broaden a community," she said.

She explained the importance of addressing the demographics of the city when considering a comprehensive plan.

"Between 2005 and 2030, Minnesota population 65+ will double," she stated. "By year 2035, individuals age 35 and over will represent over 40 percent of our population compared to 32 percent statewide. From 2005 to 2015 the fastest growth in Minnesota will be ages 55 to 69."

When planning according to aging and growing population, considering the impact on housing and transportation is a must, she said.

Putting those statistics in mind is also crucial when considering the affects on the community's school system.

"When your population is increasing and aging in a fast rate, we have less pupils in our schools," Hills said. "We're already facing that in some of our rural communities."

She suggested enhancing technology in the schools and community so that rural families stay in town.

When asked by townships and cities why comprehensive planning is valuable, Hills said she and her organization's answer is that "planning for the future preserves your sense of place, while addressing your needs of growth."

-Owners of Spirit Lake Motel Mike and Julie Rogers presented the council with figures of their water bills in the past three years.

The Rogers said their water rates have increased about $5,000 from 2005 to 2008, while their usage has stayed the same or decreased in the winter months.

Councilwoman Kim Rasmussen suggested taking the issue to the water and sewer committee to possibly come up with a solution there. The rest of the council agreed.

-Greenwood Connections administrator Clair Erickson said the facility was awarded a $10,000 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) grant as long as it provides a $12,000 matching grant.

-Greenwood Connections occupancy rate was at 99 percent for the month of March, Erickson reported.

-The Greenwood Connections advisory board voted to purchase a 42-inch bariatric bed for $1,099 in the nursing home, Erickson said.

-The council decided to petition a decrease in the speed limit on Highway 87 when Karol Andreasen expressed her concerns with the 55 mph speed limit.

-Jody Bjornson reported that so far Horizons has raised about $4,000 for the Menahga Senior/Community Center.

He added that a few Horizons volunteers have been working on the welcoming kit that will include coupons and promotions for local businesses and will be available for current and new residents.

Horizons will host a community rally at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 30 at Laestadian Lutheran Church. A free meal will be served and the group will present an overview of their long-term goals and projects.