Lyon County gets updates on library, road projects

MARSHALL – Lyon County Commissioners covered a lot of ground at their regular meeting Tuesday. Items of discussion ranged from upcoming county highway projects, to revisiting ongoing topics like the Marshall-Lyon County Library.

A request for the county to contribute to the fixtures and furnishings of a planned children’s wing at the library came before the board for a third time on Tuesday. At a previous meeting in March, commissioners split 2-2 on whether or not to fund an amount up to about $51,000 for the addition’s non-building costs.

This time, commissioners passed the request. In discussion, board members said they were glad to hear that a negotiation process was starting up between the library and the Plum Creek regional library system. In December, commissioners had declared their intent to leave the Plum Creek system over conflicts about the Marshall-Lyon County Library’s autonomy within the system, but later they voted to rescind that declaration.

Commissioner Charlie Sanow said representatives from the library, the county and the city of Marshall began meeting separately with a mediator last week. At this point, Sanow said, the purpose of the meetings was to talk about issues of importance for the library and hopefully go on to work out a resolution with Plum Creek.

“I think we had some very good discussions,” Sanow said of the process so far. He said the MLCL Board may also ask for some extra time to work something out with Plum Creek, instead of leaving the regional system effective July 1.

Commissioner Steve Ritter said he was glad to hear that communication between the library and Plum Creek seemed to be improving.

County commissioners got both an overview of 2013’s county highway projects and spending and a schedule of future projects from county highway engineer Aaron VanMoer on Tuesday. VanMoer presented the board with the 2013 annual report for the county highway department.

Lyon County had a grand total of more than $5.51 million in road construction costs in 2013 and more than $2.6 million in maintenance costs, the report said. The county’s major highway projects last year included resurfacing County Road 10 in concrete from U.S. Highway 59 to Cottonwood, grading on County Road 10 from Minneota west to the county border and grading and visibility improvements at the intersection of County Road 7 and U.S. Highway 14. According to the report, the county also filled cracks on 26 miles of road and put seal coating on 11.5 miles of road in 2013.

Commissioners accepted the report and also held a public hearing on the county’s five-year road and bridge improvement plan. VanMoer went over some of the projects coming up in the next three years or so. The 2014 construction plans are more detailed than those for 2017 and 2018, he said.

A three-mile stretch of County Road 24 east of Minneota will be regraded, resurfaced and have wider shoulders put in this year, VanMoer said.

“It’s a stretch of road that has not been graded since the 1950s,” VanMoer said, and it also has narrow and steep shoulders.

VanMoer said a trio of bridge projects are also scheduled this year. One project will involve removing a bridge on a closed road in Custer Township, west of Garvin Park. A deficient bridge in Shelburne Township will be replaced with a box culvert, and the old steel truss bridges in Camden State Park will also be replaced.

VanMoer said bridge replacements will also continue around the county in the next five years. One such project, planned for 2015, will replace a bridge on County Road 7 near the intersection with Minnesota Highway 23. Among other major road projects planned in the next few years is improved grading and storm sewer service on County Road 10 in Cottonwood. That stretch of road “has major issues with drainage,” VanMoer said.

There were no questions or comments from the public at the hearing.