Lanesboro Council updated on dam project

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The Lanesboro City Council held its regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 3, and was updated on the status of the Lanesboro dam project.

After the project was first introduced in 2010, the project is finally nearing the construction stage. Chris Goodwin of Ayers Associates briefed the council on the progress and stages to be involved in the construction.

Goodwin stated a cellular dam would be installed just upstream and below the surface of the water. While the design for solving the potential issue of the historic arched dam failing was debated, it soon became evident the state historical society would not allow the dam to be touched unless it was repaired using the material already in it.

Therefore, the next option was to install the cellular dam, which would alleviate much of the pressure currently exhibited against the historic dam. However, when asked if this method would protect the historic dam, Goodwin stated, “Since we can’t touch it, we can’t do much to protect it.”

If the current dam would collapse, the ensuing wave and silt, which would be released downstream, could result in a 12-foot wave. With the cellular dam in place, which will be built to withstand a 100-year flood, it would be able to take the brunt of the silt weight away from the current dam. And should the historic dam collapse, the wave produced would only be two feet above the normal water level.

Goodwin shared the estimated construction cost with the current design amounted to around $3.8 million, with engineering fees added on top of that. A big factor in the price tag, Goodwin related, is the volatility in the steel market.

The revised final design will soon be submitted to the SHPO and the Corps of Engineers for approval along with an archeology report from Bolton & Menk. If things go well with this approval process, Goodwin noted the project schedule would see a bid opening in January 2019 and be open for 30 days. Construction would begin in May or June and continue through the entire summer. There are still pieces of the puzzle left to figure out, including a question on how to close the trail when the construction is going on.

Lanesboro Museum

Sandy Webb from the Lanesboro Museum reported to the council the museum staff just finished the complete inventory of all the artifacts and archives at the museum. This project had been accomplished thanks to the hard efforts of several community members and four grants from the Minnesota Historical Society over the past four years. She eagerly gave an example of how detailed and powerful the software, PastPerfect, actually is as a research tool.

Over 7,000 artifacts and archives are inventoried as well as more than 2,000 names. More names are incoming as well. She described a person’s name could be queried and PastPerfect would give the total entries related to that person, a description about the artifact and exactly where it is located.

“PastPerfect is not only an inventory of the artifacts and archives, but also the stories that go with those artifacts and archives,” Webb related.

She thanked the council for all the support it has given, both financially and through moral support.

Council member Jason Resseman asked how the museum is, financially, if the money the city budgets for the organization is enough. Webb stated the museum is breaking even with that money and through memberships. She believed the museum may have around 200 memberships, which currently cost $10 per year or $100 for a lifetime membership. There is a possibility these amounts might increase, but that has not yet been finalized.

Webb and Mike Brown agreed to put together more concrete numbers for the council to review regarding the museum.

Truth in Taxation meeting

The council also held the truth in taxation meeting on Monday, Dec. 3. Mayor Autumn Johnson informed the public the city is looking at a levy of $645,065.65. This levy would increase the taxes for residents to just over $100 for a residential property valued at $100,000.

Other business

The council approved Don Bell to join Lanesboro Public Utilities; Richard Wolfgramm and Jason Harvey to the Planning and Zoning Commission and Heidi Dybing to Economic Development.

A resolution certifying the final 2019 tax levy to the county auditor was approved, along with the 2019 public utilities budget and a rescheduling of the Jan. 7 meeting to start at 6 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m.

The council discussed the city’s phone service after realizing this expense was quite high. Research will be done on employees using cell phones, phones at the street department, internet, etcetera and options the city has to lower the expense, including bundling possibilities.

Finally, City Administrator Michele Peterson and the other council members thanked Marge Drake for her two years serving on the council and her prior years dedicated to serving the community. The December meeting was her final meeting as a council member.