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County joins trestle bridge task force

Two county representatives will join city participants to plan removal, re-purposing of the historic railroad bridge.

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A steering committee is forming to expedite the decommissioning and repurposing, possibly as an artwork, of the historic railroad trestle bridge on the Fish Hook River.

Hubbard County commissioner Tom Krueger and County Land Commissioner Chip Lohmeier were appointed to the Park Rapids Trestle Bridge Task Force.

The matter was discussed at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

Lohmeier said the task force will explore how to remove and repurpose materials from the historic railroad trestle bridge, currently spanning the Fish Hook River and adjacent to the Heartland Trail.

The bridge is owned by the DNR Trails Division and was previously part of the Heartland Trail before the DNR closed it to all traffic.

“So they’re looking at the task force to find a way to develop that area,” Lohmeier said, adding that the county parks board recommended that Lohmeier and another county commissioner participate.

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County commissioner Dan Stacey asked if the DNR might replace the trestle bridge with another one.

“No. They figured that now that they’ve rerouted the Heartland Trail across the rusty red bridge now, they don’t need that bridge anymore. They’ve redirected the traffic toward Hwy. 71,” Lohmeier.

Four Park Rapids city representatives were appointed to serve on the committee. They include City Planner Andrew Mack, city parks board member Ruth Ann Campton, council member Liz Stone, plus city arts and culture advisory commission member Paul Albright.

County commissioner Char Christenson asked if there would be a public hearing.

“I don’t know, at this time, what their plans are,” Lohmeier said. “Basically, what they are looking at is how they can get funds – number one, to get the bridge removed, and number two, utilize the materials and create a new sculpture.”

“So they’re not going to pay for it themselves?” Christenson asked.

Lohmeier shook his head, no.

In related business, the county board did as follows:

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  • Approved a roof repair quote for the county public works garage. Mid-State Insulation, Inc. offered to power wash the roof, fix holes and shovel marks with silicone caulk, then spray the entire roof with a silicone coating for $6,125. The workmanship comes with a 10-year warranty. Public Works Coordinator Jed Nordin recommended approval, noting there is a $1,000 deductible for the insurance claim.

  • Approved a $25,000 funding request from the City of Nevis for playground improvements at Muskie Park. “We’ve done this in the past. We’ve used parks funds to help other communities develop their park system. In fact, we gave money to the City of Laporte and City of Nevis,” Lohmeier explained. The Muskie Park committee already secured $37,000 through their efforts. The county fund would be used as match, he said.

  • Approved a list of lands forfeited to the state of Minnesota for non-payment of taxes. Fifteen parcels are proposed to be sold at a Nov. 22 auction, said Lohmeier.

  • Accepted a $212 donation to the county parks department from the Park Rapids Pickleball Players.

Related Topics: HUBBARD COUNTY
Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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