At the April 12 city of Peterson meeting, the council looked at some road issues that they hope to address within the 2017 year.

They began the conversation by discussing the need for added culverts at three locations: along Church Street crossing Airport Road, along Prospect street directly west of Victory Street, and across Victory Street just north of Prospect.

Specifically, the intersection of Prospect and Victory has had issues with pooling water, and the belief is that the installation of these two culverts will reduce the water problem.

“We should be able to clean this up,” said Mayor Tim Hallum. “That’s the main concern we have.”

The 12-in. steel culvert and ditch grading at Church Street would cost $1,150. The 60 ft. by 15 in. steel culvert installation across Victory Street, including backfilling of class five rock and ditch grading would cost $4,300. The 40 ft. by 12 in. steel culvert installation with ditch grading along Prospect Street would cost $2,350.

The council unanimously approved all three projects for an estimated total of $7,800. Generation X Construction was contracted for all of the work.

The council also began conversations on repair and reclaiming projects for Park Street and River Street.

Generation X submitted an estimate for grading, compacting and reclaiming along these streets, totaling $15,000.

For comparable work, Dunn Blacktop Company estimated $13,939.20. However, with their estimate, the company also gave options to add fine grade, water and compact reclaimed bituminous base for $7,350.75.

They also submitted an option to completely pave Park and River streets with a 2.5 inch thick layer of asphalt for $60,844.

The city has not taken the time to investigate the water and sewer mains located under those streets.

“We want to look and see that everything’s good before we even think about covering it up,” said Hallum. “It might be a little ways before we fully tear up that street.”

At this point, the council agreed that the pricing for a big project was too steep; however, members noted that something had to be done concerning the poor condition of those streets.

“We’ve got to fill those holes,” said Hallum. The council discussed filling potholes with a cold asphalt mix, which would fill the holes sooner, instead of waiting for the asphalt plants to open for the year.

“You could fill the holes with gravel too,” suggested councilor Jake Sandeno.

No official motions were made for moving forward.

“We’re just trying to get numbers on the streets,” began Hallum. “We have to start somewhere.”

Police questionnaire going out

As the city of Peterson is figuring out how to proceed with policing options, the council has decided to ask the citizens how they would like the council to proceed.

A questionnaire will be sent out with the monthly utility bills.

“When it comes to police protection, the more input the better,” said councilor Loren Rue.

Rue also suggested looking into mounting cameras along the major streets of Peterson as another way of policing the town without paying for services from the sheriff.

Councilor Gail Boyum suggested adding a question about cameras to the questionnaire. She noted that in other cities residents have pursued legal action against their cities to take down cameras due to the violation of privacy.

Campground to get Internet?

The council looked over a proposal from AcenTek concerning providing wireless Internet to the Peterson City Campground. The cost to do so would be $49.95 per month.

“I have a hard time spending $50 for someone in a camper,” said Hallum. He suggested that if the council ever pursued this action that the cost should be absorbed into the rate paid for camping.

Boyum asked about making wireless free at the bandstand by extending the current wireless Internet used at city hall. Officials could then gauge camper response based on how well it is received.

Clerk Chris Grindland said that this would likely be easy to do as he is typically the only one to use the Internet at City Hall.

100-year flood markers to be set

The council has finally reached resolution concerning a desire expressed late in 2016 to survey the 100-year flood levels and put equal markers in three locations around Peterson.

At the April 12 meeting, the council unanimously voted to hire G-Cubed Engineering, Surveying, and Planning out of Chatfield to set local benchmarks at three locations for $1,500.

Rue added that he had used this company twice and only had positive things to say about them.

Quarve shed to be addressed

In late 2016, Mike Halvorson brought a complaint to the council concerning Gary Quarve’s backyard shed.

Halvorson has alleged that the building sits too close to the property line, it is too tall (15 ft. vs. the allowed 12 ft.) for the type of shed it is, and it was not permitted before it was built.

Since this has come up, the city’s attorney has been in contact with the Quarve’s attorney to rectify the issues.

According to the council, Quarve’s lawyer has not responded to notices from the city’s attorney, Greg Schieber.

“My personal feeling is that this has taken long enough,” stated Hallum.

“I think the city has been very accommodating,” added Rue, noting that they have patiently waited to hear back from Quarve.

The council unanimously directed their attorney to pursue legal action against Quarve.

Proposed ATV discussed

In the May 18, 2016, issue of the Tri-County Record, Vern Bunke shared his vision for an expanded system of tracks across Southeastern Minnesota and specifically in the Rushford Peterson Valley bluffs.

His hope was to apply for grants and legislation that would assist with the estimated $10 million price tag, according to the article.

Bunke approached the council, joined by Alan Kirchhof, president of the Bluff Country ATV Club.

Bunke said he wanted to begin the conversation with municipalities in Rushford Peterson Valley while also continuing discussions with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR).

Kirchhof presented some of the data that he had gathered in noting interest for family-friendly ATV trails. According to Kirchhof, there are 45,000 registered ATVs in Southeast Minnesota and 140,000 overall in what is called “Region 3” which extends from the Twin Cities to the Minnesota/Wisconsin border in east and southeast Minnesota.

ATV users are looking for scenic areas to visit, Kirchhof noted, but his findings indicate that they won’t travel across the state for any trail that is smaller than 40 miles.

Bunke’s hope is to establish a trail that is roughly 38-40 miles long with the intention of lengthening by connecting with trails near Chatfield, trails near the Stockton/Altura area and trails near Houston.

According to Bunke, conversations have been positive with ATV clubs in these areas, and the group is currently taking steps to connect with the trails that would be developed around the Rushford Peterson Valley area.

“Local clubs are recognizing an opportunity to ride a little farther (by connecting),” shared Kirchhof.

Kirchhof added that there wouldn’t be destruction done to the trails by ATVs, as the way that they build the trails will be intentional so that it is long lasting and requires minimal maintenance.

He also clarified that the intention is to not have trails with straightaways so that ATVers would blast through them on high speeds. The intended speed would be from 8 to 12 miles per hour.

To ensure this, the trails would have several turns and twists. This would allow riders to see the beauty that the area has to offer and to even drive along elevated routes, so that they can look out across the valley from on top of a bluff.

Kirchhof, a Rushford native who now lives in Spring Valley, said, “I know that if you visit Rushford and Peterson, you love Rushford and Peterson.”

As this idea is in its beginning stages of discussion and awareness, no formal action was taken by the council.

Next meeting

The next council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10, at Peterson City Hall.