Granite Falls Council approve state turbine grant agreement

Kyle Klausing
News Editor
The Granite Falls Municipal Airport Commission is expressing its concern over a potential wetland expansion nearby.

During their regular meeting on Monday, August 17, the Granite Falls City Council heard a report from the Airport Commission. The Commission shared their concerns with the council about a proposed wetland one mile east from the airport. The Commission said that while they understand the need for controlling flooding, the arrival and departure corridors present a safety risk for waterfowl movement.

Local pilots report feeling that birds are unpredictable and are nearly impossible to avoid when in flight. For example, one operator hit a duck a few miles away from the airport last year which resulted in $13,000 worth of repairs. According to FAA wetlands guidance, risks associated with mixing waterfowl and aircrafts should be shouldered equally.Additionally, there are concerns that any future expansion will move into CREP land. The commission requested that the Council assess alternative options before a commitment is made to making the land into a wetland.

Council also reviewed the State Grant Agreement for turbine III installation and hydro plant repairs. City Attorney Greg Holmstrom said that he has reviewed the agreement and is recommending that Council approve the agreement. According to City Manager Crystal Johnson, the city will be able to seek advanced payments for this project on a yearly basis.

BARR Engineering, who are consulting on the project for the city, completed a timetable of estimated total costs per each year. In 2020, the total allocation is $135,000, for 2021 $1,962,500, and for 2022 $637,500. The contract agreement is in effect from July 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2023 or until all obligations have been satisfactorily fulfilled. After discussion, the Council voted unanimously to approve the agreement.

Council received a request from KCC Director Nick Richter asking for council consideration if a new floor scrubber in the amount of $4,800 and carpet cleaner in the amount of $2,900. After discussion, Council voted to approve the expenses, bringing the remaining balance to $102,980.66 for the KCC budget, including any reserve preferred by council. T

he campground and nature based play set portion of Phase II of the Memorial Park project began on August 17. The playground equipment will be installed the last week of September.

Council was informed that MnDOT plans to make repairs to both the overlook and the Memorial Park rock wall sometime in 2021. Once repairs are completed, MnDOT is asking the city of Granite Falls if they would be interested having both gifted to the city. MnDOT would cover all costs to transfer the property over to the city and have the property surveyed.