Hubbard County OKs land sale for roundabout

Body: 

The Hubbard County Board authorized a quitclaim deed and offer to sell county land to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for the U.S. Hwy. 71 roundabout.

The matter was discussed at their Tuesday meeting.

"This is that very small sliver of land over by our (Public Works) office that MnDOT buys fee title for all of their right-of-way," explained said County Engineer/Public Works Coordinator Jed Nordin. "It's only .17-of-an-acre permanent easement, and there's a temporary easement across a corner that's .1 of an acre."

MnDOT will pay $500, even though the appraisal was for less than that. "Five hundred dollars is their minimum offer, so that's what we're going to get," Nordin said.

County Commissioner Ed Smith inquired how the home at the southwest corner of the CSAH 33 and Hwy. 71 intersection will be impacted by the roundabout.

"Undoubtedly, the roundabout will affect his place, but I don't think it encroaches as much as one would think," Nordin replied. "The footprint of the roundabout is not that huge. MnDOT is buying very small pieces."
"People see stakes and don't understand why they are out there," Smith said.

Nordin said the homeowner's driveway will be changed, likely rerouted to the north.

County Commissioner Vern Massie said a lot of people were against the roundabout "because they don't understand it. I think once it's in place and they'll adjust."

Smith agreed, mentioning there are several roundabouts in Brainerd. "I think it'll work out," he said.

County Commissioner Char Christenson, stating she's in favor of the roundabout, made the motion to authorize the land sale. The motion passed 4-0, with County Commissioner Dan Stacey absent.

County highway maps update

The board approved a quote of $2,363 from Pro Print, Inc. of Duluth to print 3,000 county highway maps. The figure does not include shipping or an approximate $500 pre-press charge.

"We haven't printed maps since 2007, so it was time to get an updated map," said Nordin.

Nordin estimated that 10,000 maps were ordered in 2007. Initially sold for $1 each, the maps were eventually given away because there were so many of them in storage and "we wanted to update them because there are so many changes in the road system," he said. Only 50 of those maps remain.

The reverse side of the map has city inserts, with city streets enlarged.

Nordin said he did some research and learned that Beltrami County sells their maps for $4 each. They ordered 1,500 and still have 800, "so they're not going out the door," he said.

Board Chair Cal Johannsen wondered if people still use paper, fold-up maps with the advent of smartphones and Google maps.

"They do," Nordin said, particularly tourists traveling through the area. "We get a lot of requests for it."

He estimated printing will cost $1.75 per map. "Do you want to charge anything, and if so, how much? Or is this just a service we provide for people?" he asked.

The board accepted the low quote and voted to offer the maps to the public for free.

Nordin said the county will likely invest $6,000 into the new maps, which would not need to be re-printed for another five years. "It's not a big expense," he said, adding the highway department works with the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce to distribute the maps.

Let's Go Fishing

County Land Commissioner Chip Lohmeier reported that the Let's Go Fishing chapter requested that the county install a gate on the Heartland Park fishing pier.

"The county parks board has been reluctant to allow that because 1) it's not a dock, it's a fishing pier and 2) we have talked to MNCIT (Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust) and they have said we cannot modify structures without losing coverage for liabilities," Lohmeier said. "We've been trying to find a suitable solution, such as installing a floating dock somewhere."

Let's Go Fishing would like a floating dock because Fishhook River levels fluctuate and the pontoon needs a consistent height, he said, adding that possible locations are Red Bridge Park or Deane Point.

"Floating docks tend to be pretty spendy, but we are trying to provide a service for some of our elderly and handicapped," Lohmeier said. "We'll work to try to find something."

In other related business, the board approved a final payment of $18,564 to DLL Excavating, Inc. of Little Falls for aggregate resurfacing in the southern half of the county.