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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Yellow Medicine County Courthouse conversation coming to constituents

  • The Yellow Medicine County Board will hold informational meetings in Canby, Clarkfield and Granite Falls later this month and into the first week of November to discuss potential options for renovation or reconstruction of the YMC Courthouse.
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  • The Yellow Medicine County Board will hold informational meetings in Canby, Clarkfield and Granite Falls later this month and into the first week of November to discuss potential options for renovation or reconstruction of the YMC Courthouse.
    “This way more people are involved and are aware of the situation and what we want to do,” said YMC Administrator Peg Heglund.
    Commissioners have recognized and discussed options to remedy space constraints at the Yellow Medicine County Courthouse for several years.
    In 2012, the county elected to purchase the  the 8,635 square foot former Fagen Engineering building  for $450,000 so that it could be turned into a one-stop-shop government center where the public would be able to receive services relating to land records, property assessment, taxation, elections, vital statistics and licenses other than drivers and motor vehicles.
    Including the building's purchase price, the entire cost of the project is expected to come in at approximately $1.1 million, which is roughly $300,000 higher than the original forecast presented to the board by then YMC Administrator Ryan Krosch.
    Originally, it was thought that by moving property and public services over to the government center, it would free up space that could be renovated to accommodate current needs of the court system––said to be inadequately met by the current courthouse.
    A facilities analysis by Wold architects of St. Peter would proved sobering when it came back mid-2013, the firm recommending a tear down and complete rebuild of the building based on the state of the over 100 year old structure.
    Wold representatives, Joel Dunning and John McNamara, presented five different options that ranged from a $668,000 band-aid to an all encompassing fix in excess of $10 million.  
    Altogether, architects indicated a need to increase space by 17,024 square feet, from 29,872 to 46,896 square feet, to adequately provide for space requests, meet security and technology needs, and make it possible to cluster related services.
    At Tuesday’s meetings, commissioners stated that a number of citizens had asked questions ranging from why everything wasn’t planned for construction at a single sight, to why the court system needs so much more space than was necessary historically.
    These, and other questions, are hoped to be answered, and input obtained during the three meetings that will be held in Canby on Monday, October 28 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. in the City Hall; in Clarkfield on Monday, November 4 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the “old” firehall; and in Granite Falls on Tuesday, November 5 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.
    Each meeting will provide an overview of courthouse remodeling and reconstruction options, current court and law enforcement concerns, financing options, and a question and period with county employees and representatives. In addition, information will be provided on the new Government Center, and a tour of the facility will be provided in conjunction with the Granite Falls meeting.
    Page 2 of 2 - In other news, at the recommendation of YMC Planning Commission, commissioners approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to Dorian Gatchell of Granite Falls that would Gatchell to operate a consultation, supply and service business for crop production needs.
    The YMC Land Use and related Resource Management Ordinance requires a CUP to operate a business in a Rural Preservation Management district. Gatchell is looking to locate the business on 10.73 acre site roughly three miles northwest of Granite Falls in Stony Run Township.
    Gatchell said that he currently visits farmers in concert with his consultation business but foresees a time when farmers would come to his site. His intentions are to build a building to house chemicals or other products to provide to farmers.
    Gatchell sists on the planning commission and so did not vote on the issue. No public comments were made about the request.

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