LITCHFIELD -- The next two phases of construction on an 18-mile recreational trail around Lake Koronis got the go-ahead from the Meeker County Board of Commissioners this week.
The board approved a $644,022 bid from Duininck Inc. of Prinsburg and agreed to contribute $20,000 toward the local grant match. The county is also providing the engineering and inspection services for the project. The board's action Tuesday was contingent upon approval from the federal government, which is providing the bulk of the funding through a $410,000 grant.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is also providing a $170,000 trails grant, said County Administrator Paul Virnig.
The county's participation is also contingent upon the other partners in the project -- the city of Paynesville and Paynesville Township -- providing the remaining $100,000 local grant match.
Paynesville City Councilman Jeff Bertram, who serves as chairman of the trail committee, said Paynesville Township took action this week to provide $50,000 and the City Council is expected to take action on Monday to allocate $50,000 toward the local match.
"We're really happy to work with partners like Meeker County and Paynesville Township. They're just great to work with," said Bertram, who said the project has been an excellent example of private and public entities working together.
"If there was a project where people have cooperated and worked together, this is it," said Virnig, who praised the Paynesville city and township involvement in the project.
While the federal government has approved the project and allocated funding, the county is seeking additional pass-through federal funds to offset the engineering work they are providing for the project. Engineering costs are allowed under the federal grant program but hadn't been included in the original application.
If the additional grant money is approved, Virnig said the funds would be put into the trail project.
The Duininck bid was the lowest of five for the project.
Their bid for phase six of the eight-phase project was $471,778.
That three-mile-long segment of the project begins on County Road 20, where the trail construction ended two years ago, and will continue south from state Highway 4 to the "five-mile bridge" on state Highway 55, said Bertram.
The bid for phase 8 was $172,244. It's located between the five-mile bridge and the Old Lake Road.
Construction on these two phases is expected to begin in July and be completed in September.
Phase 7 of the project is about 2½ miles and will go through the Koronis Ministries Camp. Bertram said federal funding has been approved for that project, which will be completed in 2013.
Bertram said most people "gave up" on the project 10 years ago. He said local government entities, private landowners, lake associations and volunteers stuck with the project and kept working to make it a reality.
By the end of this year, 16 miles of trail will be completed, and by 2013 the trail will be about 18 miles long and will connect to the Glacial Lakes Trail, which extends from Willmar to Paynesville.
In other action:
- The Meeker County Commissioners appointed six individuals to their absentee ballot board, which will accept, reject and tabulate absentee ballots in state elections.
- Tammy Thompson, a probation officer in the county, was recognized for receiving the highest award given by the Minnesota Association of County Probation Officers.
- An extension was approved on a conditional use permit for a wind turbine that was initially granted in August of 2009. The owner said the project has been delayed because of model changes in the turbine. Extending the permit will allow the project to be completed with newer technology.
- A public hearing was set for July 21 to hear a tax abatement request from Minnesota Rubber, a Litchfield company that plans to expand its business.