Tuesday morning’s Board of Commissioners meeting for Yellow Medicine County was a little shorter than usual owing to the absence of Commissioner Gary Johnson and Board Chair Ron Antony. Nevertheless, the Board dived right into a full schedule.

Parks Director, Don Mock, pitched his proposal for replacing the aging playground at Timm Park. Mock sought, and received approval from the Board to submit a grant application with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to assist with the cost of the project.

The grant application deadline is Friday, March 30. The grant covers up to 50% of the total project cost, and Mock informed the Board that even if the county's application was accepted, there was still a chance that the DNR would only fund a smaller portion of the project. The playground alone is expected to cost around $19,500. A proposed series of trails connecting the playground to the shelter and bathrooms would add an additional $6,000 to the project.

The Board unanimously approved a resolution committing up to $10,000 for the new playground. Future donations to the project will be deducted from the County contribution. According to Mock, the Wood Lake Booster Club has already donated $2,500. Mock says that he is still working hard to receive additional donations from the community.

Mock also said that the proposed playground equipment has been screened for safety concerns (such as blunt edges that could hurt small children). The new set will be fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. This means that the entire set will be on a single even plane, allowing children with mobility problems to enjoy the playground, too.

The DNR won’t inform applicants of their decision until June. If Yellow Medicine County is approved, Mock says that the new playground and trail system will be completed before the end of the year.

In other news:

The Board unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Corridors of Commerce program. The initiative leverages the collective strength of smaller communities as a way of receiving additional highway funding from the state government. If accepted, the county says that they will use the money to add passing lanes on the stretch of Highway 212 connecting Granite Falls and Montevideo, replace the BNSF railroad overpass on Highway 212 in Granite Falls, and increase the number of passing lanes on Highway 23 connecting Pipestone and Willmar.

The Board also agreed to accept a donation from Pioneer Power. The donation comes in the form of a roof structure covering the Minnesota Machinery Museum sawmill. Yellow Medicine is accepting the donation because the sawmill is located on county property. The cost of building the new structure (valued at over $500) will be totally covered by Pioneer Power.

A letter from the Southwestern Minnesota Adult Mental Health Consortium informed the Board of a recent decision to hire a consultant to address the mounting pressure being put on rural mental health care systems. SMAMHC say they are pursuing a grant match opportunity, and are asking member counties to contribute based on their population. Yellow Medicine will contribute $1,789.66 for the grant match fund.