By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Replacement of Willow River dam delayed


October 17, 2019

Replacement of the Willow River dam has been delayed for a year, the Willow River City Council learned after receiving a letter from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources early in October. Portions of the letter were read at the meeting of the council on Monday, Oct. 7.

“This letter is to inform you that the Department of Natural Resources has made a change to the schedule for the Willow River rock rapids construction and the restoration of Stanton Lake,” the letter stated. “Construction is now scheduled to occur in 2020.”

The letter went on to state that the reason for the delay is to complete an Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

“The DNR needs to complete an EAW for the project as the rock rapids will impact greater than one acre of public waters,” the letter stated. “The EAW process generally takes about six months and includes a public meeting and public comment period.

“The current design is much larger than the concept design. We did not anticipate the need for an EAW as the impacts of the concept design were less than one acre. The rock rapids cannot be redesigned to make it smaller without reducing the stability of the rock rapids. The DNR must design a structure that is safe and stable under all loading conditions.”

The letter concluded by stating that the design is 90 percent complete and permitting is underway. The funding is in place to proceed but there are still easements between the DNR and the city to be completed.

The council accepted a letter of resignation from Darryl Poslusny and appointed Kevin McGreanor to take the seat on the council. McGreanor will fill out the remainder of the term until the end of December 2020, it was said.

A resident on Gander Drive met with the council to report that water is backing up on the east side of the sewage settling ponds.

“There has been flooding there the last three times,” he told the council. “The water had no place to go.”

In further discussion, it was said that there should be a culvert to drain the water but it was not known if a culvert is there. John Mikrot said that he would go and take a look.

Fire Chief Gerard Bennett reported that the department had received $5,000 in funds from a 50/50 grant. The funds will be used for purchasing communications equipment.

He also reported that the Octoberfest fundraising event has been canceled. There was not enough time to carry out the plans. However, the gun raffle is coming up, he said.

It was said that Chad Robbins had been hired as a part-time worker for the city. He began his duties in mid September. He was given a list of jobs to do and is getting them completed.

There was more discussion about Christmas lights for the light poles in town. Robbins will be asked to take a look at what needs to be ordered.

A man and wife volunteered to help with the project. It was also suggested that senior high school students that need volunteer hours could also be asked to help with the project.

There was a proposal to purchase security cameras for the city hall, and to install a sliding window between the office and the meeting area.

Options for the cameras and the cost will be explored. The council passed a motion to purchase and install a sliding window.

The liquor license renewals were approved for the Corral Bar and the Squirrel Cage Bar and Grill.

The next meeting of the council was set for Monday, Nov. 4,at 7 p.m. in the city hall.


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