Lyon County approves courtroom study

MARSHALL – Preparations for a possible remodel of the Lyon County district courtrooms took another step forward Tuesday as the Lyon County Board approved a contract with architectural firm Vetter Johnson to conduct a space study.

Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg presented county commissioners with a proposed contract for the space study at the commissioners’ regular meeting. Space and technology needs have become a major concern for the county court, as the state of Minnesota prepares to switch over to a paperless court records system. Court officials say the current courtrooms are both too small and not wired to accommodate additional computer systems.

Stomberg said the proposed contract would allow for a maximum cost of $17,500 to conduct a space study of the court area on the third floor of the Lyon County Government Center. Approving the space study doesn’t commit the county to any further work on the courtrooms, he said. If board members approved the contract, the study would tentatively begin on March 10, with Vetter Johnson representatives interviewing court staff about current operations and space needs.

Commissioner Steve Ritter asked if any county board members would be included in the study process.

“I think there should be,” said County Board Chairman Rick Anderson. Both Anderson and Commissioner Rodney Stensrud said they would be willing to meet with Vetter Johnson staff.

After discussion, commissioners voted to approve the contract.

Most of the discussion on a relatively short board agenda Tuesday was centered around a progress update on development of Twin Lakes Park in Shelburne Township. A special meeting was held Feb. 27 to select building designs and decide on other aspects of the park in preparation for construction this year.

On Tuesday, Lyon County Highway Engineer Aaron VanMoer also brought forward some possible road re-alignment projects that could help improve traffic safety around the park. VanMoer said there are some sharp curves in Lyon County Road 51, located to the north and southwest of the park, that could be risky for park visitors. In current conditions, a vehicle towing a boat or trailer would take up most of the roadway while going around the curves.

The intersection of Lyon County roads 53 and 51 near the twin lakes is already planned to be realigned. VanMoer said the county may also want to consider realigning the curves on County Road 51. However, he said, the county doesn’t have a master plan for such a project right now.

While commissioners agreed there was a need for traffic safety around Twin Lakes Park, they had questions about the cost of realigning the curves and where the funding would come from. A motion to realign one of the curves was tabled until VanMoer could present more detailed information at the next county board meeting.