Greenfield OKs RHS storm water pond

Council to review permit in one year 

Greenfield City Councilors, Wednesday, Aug. 6, dove into a number of water issues, including a proposed storm water pond at Rockford High School, wet insulation at Greenfield City Hall and drainage from Lake Sarah.

The city council also took up other business. Here are some highlights from the meeting.


The Rockford Area School District is proposing a number of improvements to its high school campus at 7600 County Road 50. Part of the site is in Rockford and part of it, notably two proposed storm water filtration ponds, are in Greenfield.

Rockford Schools is planning to construct a new synthetic football field and running track, stadium and softball field lighting and softball field building. Other parts of the project will be soccer/football field lighting, tennis court reconstruction, new and reconstructed parking lots, an access drive to the stadium and utility improvements. In all, 10.6 acres of land will be disturbed, and 3.7 acres of impervious surface will be constructed. Resulting storm water drainage will go somewhere, whether planned for or not. That’s where storm water ponds come in.

Rockford Schools asked Greenfield city councilors to approve a permit for earth removal, filling and grading and moving material from one site to another on the same property.  The council also was asked to approve an agreement between the school district and Greenfield regarding maintenance of storm water pond and filtration areas in Greenfield.

City councilors raised a number of questions, granted the permit and decided to approve the storm water pond agreement on a temporary basis, with review in a year.

Council members talked about what they had noticed about the site. Councilor Chuck Alcon said “a ton of dirt” would be moved, and slopes are really steep. If slopes and drainage are not established correctly, Rockford Schools could have “real problems.” He also asked about inspections of storm water ponds for sediment and debris and said this is not easy to do.

Councilor Tom Cook said his biggest concern was the artesian wells under the football fields and under the hill that overlooks the parking lot. During heavy rains, artesian wells could wash into the parking lot. Then the school district would not need storm water pond inspections.


City Administrator Bonnie Ritter said the Three Rivers Park District is asking Greenfield to pass a resolution supporting the district’s purchase of a parcel of land, called “the Buffie parcel,” on the northwest edge of Lake Sarah. Three Rivers also asked whether Greenfield councilors were interested in a meeting of a small work group of city and park district staff concerning long range planning for Lake Rebecca Park Reserve and Lake Sarah Regional Park.

City Councilors said “not yet” about the land purchase and “yes” about participating in long range park planning.

Councilor Mark Holten said he was not in favor of Greenfield supporting the land purchase without a better understanding of what Three Rivers intends to do with the property. A related issue is maintenance of the outlet channel from Lake Sarah, which is near the Buffie property. A responsible funding agency is needed for being in charge of maintaining the channel. Greenfield has an opportunity to have the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or Three Rivers to step in.

Holten added that volunteers have done an excellent job of maintaining the outlet channel. However, recently a volunteer broke an ankle. Very likely volunteers will have less enthusiasm for pitching in.

Councilor Alcon said a survey of the Buffie land parcel is “clearly required.” The property is a non-buildable lot in the Shoreland Overlay District. Wetlands are on the property and railroad tracks are located to the north. He wondered what the Pioneer Sarah Creek Watershed District would think of the proposed Three Rivers land purchase.

City Administrator Ritter said Three Rivers had asked the Metropolitan Council whether a comprehensive plan amendment would be needed for the Buffie purchase. Met Council said, “No.”

Mayor Brad Johnson said he would support the Three Rivers land purchase if the Met Council would send Greenfield a letter saying a comprehensive plan amendment is not needed. He also wanted Three Rivers Parks to be responsible for maintenance to the outlet channel from Lake Sarah.

Councilor Cook said a survey definitely is needed and he wanted a written agreement as to who would be responsible for outlet channel maintenance. He was not willing to go along with the Three Rivers land purchase without a dialogue with the park district.

Cook said the party who is responsible for outlet channel maintenance has not been clearly defined. “We are taking care of property we do not own,” he said.


Administrator Ritter said Greenfield has no choice about whether or not to repair the roof at Greenfield City Hall. Water is leaking into the center of the building and has caused mold issues in some or all of the insulation. Water caused smoke detectors to sound for several hours, and, without roof repairs, this could happen again. Roof repairs are needed before winter sets in.

After Ritter’s soggy description of roof problems, the city council approved a quote from American Eagles Construction to do the work at a cost of $11,827.

The next meeting of the Greenfield City Council will be at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 19, at the council chambers at 6390 Town Hall Drive.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]