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Didn't make the cut

WILLMAR -- A request to renovate the Minnesota Department of Transportation headquarters in Willmar has won the favor of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but it was only the bonding request from the area apparently to do so.

Requests for bond monies to develop veteran homes in Willmar and Montevideo were among a variety of area proposals that failed to make the cut.

The governor's bonding proposal released on Friday includes $3 million -- as compared to $4.7 million requested -- for the MDOT headquarters renovation.

The governor's list inks out the City of Willmar's request for $20 million towards the costs of the $83 million wastewater treatment plant project.

The governor nixed the separate bonding requests by Willmar and Montevideo to build veterans homes. Willmar is requesting $28 million and Montevideo $8 million.

The governor's list also fails to include any funding for expanding the Glacial Lakes Trail near New London, where local legislators are proposing a $1.7 million expansion.

A proposal by Renville County to take advantage of federal funding and develop the scenic river road along the Minnesota River also did not make the governor's list. Renville County officials are seeking $4.9 million in state funds.

The City of Granite Falls also has requests for $1.2 million to expand the library and senior citizens center and $512,000 to renovate the historic pedestrian bridge. Neither is included by the governor.

The request by Ridgewater College for $14.3 million in renovation work also did not make the cut.

The Governor's proposal is really only the starting point for negotiations, and legislators will still be working to include these projects in the bonding bills that will be making their way through the House and Senate when the session begins next month, according to State Senator Joe Gimse, R-Willmar.

"Everything is on the table,'' Gimse said. Not making the Governor's list at this stage should not be looked at as the death knell for a project, he explained.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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