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Nobles County to maintain ownership of road in Brewster

WORTHINGTON -- On a 3-2 vote, Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday opted to have the county maintain ownership and maintenance of Nobles County 75, rather than turn it over to the city of Brewster. The transfer of the half-mile section (three b...

WORTHINGTON - On a 3-2 vote, Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday opted to have the county maintain ownership and maintenance of Nobles County 75, rather than turn it over to the city of Brewster. The transfer of the half-mile section (three blocks) of road has been suggested several times in recent years by Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder.

The issue dates back to when Minnesota Soybean Processors opened on Zeh Avenue. Because of the influx in truck traffic going to the plant, the city asked the county to designate it as a county state aid highway. Schnieder said it was suggested at the time that the city could perhaps take over the section of Nobles County 75, which leads to a city cemetery, in exchange.

Brewster Mayor Randy Schmitz said Tuesday there was never such an agreement made by the city.

“When we first started talking about Zeh Avenue, we never offered a spot,” Schmitz said. “From the beginning, we never really anticipated swapping the road out. There are other county roads that go to cemeteries; why are we just picking on this road, County Road 75?”

Commissioner Marv Zylstra spoke with the Brewster City Council about the issue earlier this month and said he supported it remaining a county road.

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“Whether it was written or unwritten policy, the road does go out to the cemetery,” Zylstra said.

Schnieder said a lot of rural cemeteries are located along county state aid highways, and those that aren’t had paved roads established to them before his tenure. Turning those roads over to townships where they are located isn’t something he suggests because townships don’t have the equipment to deal with paved roadways. The situation is different in Brewster because the cemetery is within the city limits.

Asking the city to take over the three-block section isn’t just something Schnieder wanted. He said the state is pushing for these types of turnbacks as well.

“They don’t want any dead-end state aid roads,” he said. “(In Brewster), the city … has all paved streets. (Nobles County 75) serves as much as a city street as it does a county road.”

Schnieder said the county’s maintenance of the portion of Zeh Avenue by MnSP is vastly more expensive, but Schmitz said it was the city who built up the road in the first place and incurred the expense, with help from MnSP to get it done. Now, he said, the county has ownership and collects state aid money for maintaining it.

Schnieder said the city of Brewster gets state aid money for their streets as well.

After Zylstra moved to have the county maintain County Road 75, Commissioner Matt Widboom questioned the act.

“The entire roadway is in the city limits,” Widboom said. “It really is a city road for all practical purposes. I really struggle with it.

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“I understand the burden it may add (to the city) from a maintenance standpoint, but for the fluid of the road, it just makes sense to square it off,” he added.

With the motion on the floor, seconded by Commissioner Bob Demuth Jr., Board Chairman Gene Metz called for the vote. Metz and Widboom voted in opposition to the county maintaining the road, while Zylstra, Demuth and Commissioner Donald Linssen voted in favor of the county’s continued ownership.

In other business, the board:

  • Accepted a bid from Chick’s Building LLC, Adrian, to install an attic ventilation system at the Adrian Branch Library at a cost of $2,250, plus the cost to install a humidistat.

  • Accepted a bid from New Prairie Insulation, Beaver Creek, to install insulation in the Adrian Branch Library at a cost of $1,424.

  • Approved the purchase of an external book drop from Bookdrop.com for the Adrian Branch Library at a cost of $3,300, which includes the cost for installation.

  • Approved plans for the renovation of the Adrian Branch Library, which will allow the library project to move forward and release requests for proposals for the improvements. Meanwhile, fundraising efforts continue for the purchase of new furnishings for the branch library once the renovations are complete. Librarian Meredith Vaselaar reported that more than $47,100 of the $80,000 goal has been received. The donations include a $10,000 contribution from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation of Rochester.

  • Scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 20, during a regularly scheduled county board meeting, to discuss a request from Jesse Drost to outlet into Judicial Ditch 1 instead of Judicial Ditch 10. Ron Ringquist will be contacted as the ditch viewer to evaluate the request prior to the meeting.

  • Received an update from Nobles County 4-H Program Coordinator Katie Klosterbuer on the youth organization. Klosterbuer reported that as of Nov. 15, 199 youths are enrolled for the new 4-H year and 76 adult volunteers are screened.

“There are quite a few new families coming on board,” Klosterbuer said, noting seven community clubs, including the new Clovers club, and a strong Cloverbud program. She is working to expand the program through her work with the Dragon Adventures program in Adrian, and two Worthington Middle School programs, EDGE and a STEM-focused group.

  • Approved 2017 guardianship agreements with Lutheran Social Services, as well as agreements with four individuals who provide guardianship services for five individuals.

  • Approved agreement renewals for 2017-2018 between Nobles County Community Services and Client Community Services Inc., Hope Haven/The Achievement Center and Specialized Vocational Services.

  • Approved Minnesota Department of Health grant project agreement for children and youths with special health needs/early hearing detection and intervention.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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