State wants Hwy. 241 to be county road
A few years after St. Michael was not interested in taking over jurisdiction of Hwy. 241, the city now says it has no official opinion on the matter.
The council also conducted a Beebe Lake water analysis public hearing that detailed plans for flood alleviation.
City administrator Steve Bot said he recently attended a meeting to discuss the potential turn-back of Hwy. 241 from the state to Wright County.
He said that a few years ago the Minnesota Department of Transportation inquired about having the city take over jurisdiction of Hwy. 241, but the city was not interested for several reasons.
Acting Mayor Kevin Kasel and council members Joe Marx, Nadine Schoen and Chris Schumm discussed the potential turn-back with Wright County Commissioner Mark Daleiden, who was present at the meeting. A consensus was reached that the city does not have an official opinion of the jurisdiction change. Wright County will have the final say on whether Hwy. 241 should be a county road or not.
No further discussion or action was taken on this issue.
In other news, the council conducted a public hearing regarding the Beebe Lake water level analysis.
Administrator Bot reviewed some history of the Beebe Lake project and explained why a water level analysis is needed. He said flooding continues to be a problem at Beebe Lake, and the city has incurred large expenses in the past with temporary measures to mitigate the flooding.
Engineering firm WSB was hired to complete an analysis to determine the best, most cost-effective solution.
Todd Hubmer and Bill Alms from WSB were present, and Hubmer reviewed six possible options to alleviate the flooding and costs associated with the options, with a recommendation being a three-phase approach. Those phases include lowering the normal water level by 1.5 feet, constructing a new outlet that would require less maintenance, and to construct new culverts to allow more capacity than the present wetlands located on Pete Scharber’s property.
Hubmer said the entire project would cost $103,000, with funding to possibly include the Lake Improvement District, assessments to benefiting property owners, or potential grants/cost-sharing between the city and DNR. He said no assessments would be proposed for the first two phases, but when the third phase is completed, it might include assessments.
Roger Stradal of the Department of Natural Resources said an amended permit would be approved soon that can initiate phase one.
The meeting was open to public comment, and Scharber asked where the culverts would be placed. Hubmer said two 30-inch culverts would be installed under 20th street and another two on the north side of the wetlands to help with the water flow.
Hubmer said the complete three phases are needed long-term, but phase three may not be needed for many years if lowering the lake provides enough capacity to alleviate the flooding concerns.
Councilor Kasel said the city has been looking at options for Beebe lake for years, and has to implement a long-term solution so that structures are not flooded and unbudgeted money is not spent on expensive pumping procedures. He said this solution seems to be in the best interest of all citizens.
Resident Ray Neumann commended the city for its proactive response, but said he hopes the lake isn’t lowered too much, or even more depending on drought conditions. Stradal said that besides surface water, the lake is fed by ground water as well.
After closing the hearing, the council adopted a resolution approving modifications of the DNR Beebe Lake Permit.