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County Board Meeting December 1

Posted: 12/01/2020

Category: County Board, Departments, Parks & Trails

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The county board meeting opened with a look into the future of Chippewa County Park.

Douglas County Parks Superintendent Brad Bonk and Jillian Reiner, landscape architect with Hagstrom Engineering, shared the proposed Chippewa Park Master Plan.

They told the commissioners the plan reflects the input of the community to have the park remain natural and flexible.  

Chippewa Park is 35 beautiful acres located in Brandon Township.  It includes overnight camp sites and is nestled between Devils and Little Chippewa Lakes. There is 4000 feet of shoreline and two beaches that provide the best swimming in the county. The plan calls for improvements to be made in two phases.  

The county asked the public for its input online, by phone and at an outdoor open house. It hired Hagstrom Engineering to create the master plan so the county could then seek grants for funding. A plan is key to successful grant writing.

The proposal now in place includes the following for Phase One:

Upgrading the existing RV campground with a 16-foot one-way access road into the RV park from the main entrance and installing a dump station for RV campers.  There are currently 12 RV sites and the master plan calls for the addition of 10 to 14 new RV campsites in Phase one.

Building a 1,100 square foot centrally located storm shelter/restroom facility which will include six restrooms and a dual-purpose area for rental space and storm shelter.

Upgrading the existing parking area. Two separate parking areas, one for each beach, will be installed. A ten-foot crosswalk between the two parking areas will allow safer crossing between the beaches.

Constructing a bridge to gain access to the north parcel. Vehicle, including Emergency Medical Services, and pedestrian traffic, will be allowed on the bridge and boats will be able to safely pass below.  Commissioner and Board Chair Keith Englund reiterated that boats must be allowed to travel from one lake to another under the bridge.

“The bridge is the hinge point,” says Park Superintendent Bonk. “Once the bridge is in, all other actions can take place.”

Creating an additional hiking and winter ski trail network on the north parcel which will double the existing 2 miles in the south portion of the park.

Adding four drive-in gravel campsites and four cart-in campsites on the north parcel.

The total cost for Phase 1 is anticipated to be $739,095.00

Financing options include: grants, user fees, donations, taxes, tax forfeited lands, partnership with cities or townships, bond referendum, and nonprofit partnerships.

Bonk will write a grant proposal this winter to fund the bridge. If that funding is received, construction could begin in 2022.  

The board voted to proceed with the plan as proposed.

Bonk also asked commissioners for approval to move ahead with a project facilitated by the Runestone Electric Association (REA) that would install two electric vehicle charging stations at two county parks. Ryan Rooney with REA explained there is funding available from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that can help finance the stations which would be placed at Kensington Rune Stone Park and Lake Brophy County Park. Drivers using the charging stations would pay a yet-to-be-determined fee.

Next Douglas County Board Chairman Keith Englund opened a public hearing on a request for an off-sale liquor license for the Rose City Bar & Grill.  No members of the public were present. The board approved the off-sale liquor license as well as an expanded on-sale license.  

Social Services

Tresa Schmidt, Assistant Community Human Services Director, asked the board to approve 2021 contracts with:

Lakeland Mental Health for outpatient services

Lakeland Mental Health for pre-petition screening

Vikingland Community Support Program for community support services to persons with severe and persistent mental illness including a recreation and socialization drop-in center.

Mended Family Services which provides parent education and supervised visitation, and family group decision making conferences.

Thrive Behavioral Network (dba Milestones) will provide intensive residential treatment services including: client supervision and direction, individualized assessment and treatment planning, living skills, illness management and recovery, integrated dual diagnosis treatment, family education, crisis assistance, development of health care directives and crisis prevention plans, nursing services, inter-agency case coordination, and client transition and discharge planning.

Schmidt also asked for permission for Director Laurie Bonds to be the authorized signor for the Children’s Mental Health Respite Grant between the state and the county. The board agreed to give Bonds that authority.

Auditor/Treasurer

Char Rosenow presented the board with a letter from Clifton Larson Allen regarding its year-end audit services and the fees the county can expect to pay for those services.

Rosenow also asked the board to approve the final CARES Act payments which include portions of the salaries for county employees who spent time working on all items related to the CARES Act from March through November.

The board will meet again Thursday, December 3 for the annual Truth in Taxation Meeting which will be held at 822 Douglas Street. The public is invited.

Comments:

Thursday, December 3, 2020 by Tessa Jesnowski
Please consider moving the playground to a different location. As a parent of three children under six, who has brought their kids to this park for years, I want to be able to bring them to the beach, not a playground. With the playground so close to the beach I feel that would be a distraction. This is one of the reasons I’ve never brought my kids to the Brophy Park beach. We only go there to visit the park. There’s no way they would just enjoy swimming with the park right there. I’ve spoken to many about this and most feel the playground would be best by the current campsite locations. Please consider moving it. Thank you for your time.

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