By Noah Lusti Staff writer At this weeks Yellow Medicine County Board meeting the commissioners started by giving their reports. Topics discussed included the Yellow Medicine County Historical Society, PrimeWest Health, fiber internet installation, a Yellow Medicine County Fair recap, a Highway 21 update, and update on the Echo street project, a personnel committee meeting and the Clarkfield school demolition project.

The commissioners discussed a joint meeting held with Clarkfield city officials and former maintenance workers for the school. The meeting was meant to help determine how much asbestos was still in the building and to have a better understanding of the demolition process in general.

Dawn Heglund and Melissa Streich from the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission and Prairie Waters gave an annual update on their work. Heglund said the organization does all kinds of different things based on the group that needs help. Heglund discussed various contracts with counties and cities as an example of the work they do and discussed the organizations revolving loan fund. Heglund said that the UMVRDC is able to see the direct impact from the loans they provided to businesses in Yellow Medicine County, last year 387 total jobs were created or retained.

Streich discussed the Prairie Waters program and explained its purpose, “The purpose of the program is to promote and market the region as a great place to visit, a great place to work, and a great place to live.” Prairie Waters helps to highlight the areas natural, cultural, scenic and historical assets. Each year the organization writes a grant to Explore Minnesota Tourism to pay 50% of $14,000 worth of regional advertising. Prairie Waters also prints and distributes 25,000 two year visitor guides that are distributed to cities and businesses throughout the region, travel centers across the state, and the Mall of America. The guides are also available on the Prairie Waters website (www.prairiewaters.com) and the Minnesota Tourism website (www.exploreminnesota.com).

Heglund asked the commissioners if there were an economic development concerns they would like to see addressed in the future. The Clarkfield Cafe, broadband and internet service, housing, childcare, and the agricultural economy were highlighted as concerns.

Countryside Public Health Administrator Liz Auch gave an update to the board. Auch discussed a regional health assessment, priority issues, a community health improvement plan, clinical assessments, and a tour of the Yellow Medicine East High School greenhouse. Auch also went over some of the activities of Countryside Public Health which include 254 car seat installations, a 8-12 week parenting program called Incredible Years Classes for 25 families, Supporting Hands Nurse Family Partnership which on average helps 26 families a month, and a Primary Prevention School Nurse conducting education to over 4,000 students.

Aaron Backman from the Highway 23 Coalition gave a presentation to the board about the groups plans for future improvements and goals. Backman discussed a trip to Washington D.C. and meeting with Minnesota Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar to help with federal funding for projects.

Backman also thanked the commissioners for their support and said their work would be impossible without the support from county governments. Bakcman discussed four projects the Coalition will focus on this year which includes a CSAH 55 overpass, an intersection safety study in Clara City, a 4-lane extension from Marshall to Green Valley, and a roundabout/4-lane feasibility study in Foley.

The board reviewed Canby Bus Garage proposals for both the 66x68 ft plan and the 66x88 plan. After some discussion and a 3-2 vote the board approved moving forward with the 66x88 ft building plan, accepting the low bid of $242,000 with total costs expected to be around $283,000.

In Other News:

The board approved the amended State of Minnesota Voting Equipment Grant Agreement Contract to extend the expenditure and reporting deadlines. The board approved a work number participation agreement with DHS. The board had a budget work session with various departments in anticipation for the 2020 budget. The board approved a concrete replacement project at the justice center. The board approved a resolution for the 2020 Veteran Services Grant. The board approved a letter of support for MIDCO expanding internet service in the county.