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Local projects on list for Dayton’s bonding plan

WILLMAR — Money to extend a bike trail from New London to Sibley State Park and funds to install a decontamination system on Green Lake to rid boats of aquatic invasive species are included in Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed $750 million bonding bill.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar, who has been working with local communities on both projects and introduced bills seeking state funding.

Sawatzky said the Green Lake Property Owners Association’s “willingness to stick their neck out” and offer $100,000 of their own money toward a boat decontamination and inspection station may have been a factor to winning over the Governor’s support for the project.

Initial plans are to have the system set up on Saulsbury Beach at the Kandiyohi County Park 4 access on Green Lake, just off state Highway 23 in Spicer.

Sawatzky said finding ways to combat invasive species, like zebra mussels, is vital for preserving lake quality, property values and property taxes. “It hits the pocketbooks,” she said.

She said the public-private partnership proposed with this project is “insightful” and could prove to be a model for other communities who are facing the threat of aquatic invasive species.

Sawatzky said Dayton’s bonding proposal also includes a plan to extend the Glacial Lakes State Trail for five miles on Kandiyohi County Road 40 from New London to U.S. Highway 71. The plan would also include with a highway underpass to get bikers and walkers safely across Highway 71.

“I am just so excited. I was hoping to see that,” said Sawatzky.

Extending the trail would mesh with the park’s tentative plans to purchase additional land to expand the park to the intersection of Highways 71 and County Road 40.

Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, hadn’t had time to look through the details on the list of projects but said $750 million is “too high” of a price tag.

“This is not traditionally a bonding year,” said Urdahl. “We need to get our budget balanced before we consider borrowing more money.”

A bonding bill cannot pass this year without support from Republicans.

Sawatzky said she hopes GOP legislators will support the bonding bill, which she said should also be considered a jobs bill.

“It’s a good thing to move forward and get people working,” said Sawatzky.

The House is expected to release its version of a bonding bill today.

Other projects on the governor’s list include:

- Phase II central heating system at Ridgewater College

- Wastewater infrastructure project in Maynard

- Water main replacement on state Highway 4 and Meeker County Road 43 in Cosmos

- A $775,000 grant to the city of Clara City to design, improve and reconstruct a local road to a 9-ton capacity. A note on the governor’s proposal indicates the funds would not be available until “at least an equal amount” was committed to the project from non-state sources.

- DNR road and bridge repair project in Swift County

- There is funding dedicated for the Department of Military Affairs for projects in Appleton, Litchfield and Olivia.

- Renville County is targeted to receive capital assistance funding under the Pollution Control Agency.

- Municipal water treatment project in Paynesville

- Renovations at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Canby

Carolyn Lange

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

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