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New London receives grant for erosion control at Neer Park; grant will fund 75% of the possible $25K cost

NEW LONDON -- A state grant will help fund a new plan to fight erosion at Neer Park in New London.

The New London City Council was told this week the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will fund 75 percent of the cost of the project, estimated between $22,000 and $25,000.

The city is trying to find $6,250 in local money to fund the remaining 25 percent of the project, which could take place in the next couple weeks.

Lakeshore around the park, which is the summer show home of the ski team, has had erosion issues for a number of years. Past efforts to stabilize the soil haven't done enough to improve the shoreline.

The new plan is a combination of engineering and ecological practices, said City Administrator Trudie Guptill.

It will include install riprap around the peninsula and the placement of net sleeves called "soxx" that are filled with sand, compost and seeds that will help calm wave action and allow regeneration of vegetation.

A request for $3,000 has been made to the county's water planning task force and it's hoped the Little Crow Ski Team will provide some of the labor for the project, which could take place in the next couple weeks.

Some in the community have said waves from the powerful boats the ski team uses during their practices and shows have increased erosion there.

The ski team, however, is credited for cleaning up the park and making it usable for the community.

The council signed a contract this week to receive the state grant.

They're hoping they don't have to use city money to fund the remaining grant match.

The council also signed a quit claim deed that returns ownership of the "Ski Hill" back to the original owner.

The city had been deeded the land a number of years ago and had attempted to maintain it as a park. The hill, which is located outside the city limits in New London Township, is a popular winter sledding area.

There had been complaints from neighboring landowners, issues with vandalism and requests for additional up-keep at the hill that the city couldn't afford to respond to.

"This was not the time to be putting money into another park when we can't take care of the parks we have," said Guptill.

In other action:

- Preparations for a community presentation on the city budget were reviewed. The council is holding a community meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 17 at the fire hall to get public input on what programs should be cut in preparation for expected state aid cuts. Surveys will also be sent to residents in their next water bill.

- The council was informed the state will mill and overlay state Highway 9 through New London in 2011.

- The council was informed that the United Way will bring a mobile pre-school unit to New London from 9-10 a.m. Fridays from June 12 to August 21 at the Little Rascals Park.

- The council signed an agreement with U.S. again from Roseville to place a red donation box near the recycling sheds. The city will receive 2 cents for every pound of donated items placed in the red box.

- The council received a check for $1,000 from the Dover City Fire Department Relief Association, which operates a pull-tab operation at the bowling alley in New London.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750