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Repair work under way on Prairie View project

WORTHINGTON -- Uncooperative weather had caused delays in repairs to the water filtration project at the former Prairie View Golf Links this fall, but contractors have been on scene in the past week.

111718.N.DG_. Prairie view Pond web.jpg
Repair work has resumed on the Prairie View pond filters and spillway after late June flooding caused damage to the newly constructed water quality improvement project. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Uncooperative weather had caused delays in repairs to the water filtration project at the former Prairie View Golf Links this fall, but contractors have been on scene in the past week.

The project sustained damage following late June flooding, and determining who was responsible for the cost of repairs took some time.

During a Tuesday meeting of the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District Board, Administrator Dan Livdahl said the sand layer and filters were redone last week, with most of the sand hauled away from the site. The sand that had been installed during construction was not the right consistency for filtering water.

Livdahl said an extra, 10-inch outlet will be installed and piped below the sand filter to allow for future drawdowns of the pond for maintenance purposes. This adds another $10,900 to the project, he noted.

Repairs to the spillway have yet to be made, but Livdahl was hoping a warm-up would allow for the fixes yet this fall.

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“One-third of the spillway is in good shape,” he said. “We’d be leaving that section in and rebuilding the rest of the spillway.”

Plans are to keep water levels as low as possible in the pond to allow for the best opportunity to establish vegetation in the spring, he added.

A financial summary of the total project was provided to managers Tuesday, showing the project to be nearly $9,000 under budget. The district received a $428,000 state grant, and a $170,000 commitment from the city of Worthington for the project. Construction and engineering costs were $551,818; non-contract expenses such as permit and legal fees, as well as a sign at the project site totalled another $4,470. The spillway repairs needed due to flood damage totalled $21,920.

Livdahl said he has yet to hear from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on possible federal assistance for the flood damage.

In other business, the board:

  • Discussed plans for carp population control in Lake Okabena. The city of Worthington has expressed interest in funding a radio-tracking study of carp movement in the lake in preparation for removal.

Funding would come from the city’s Clean Water Partnership, which is overseen by a joint powers board consisting of members of the watershed district and the Worthington City Council. Already, the city council has said it favors putting $52,000 toward carp tracking and removal.
Livdahl also said he spoke with southwest Minnesota’s only licensed commercial fisherman about seining carp in Lake Okabena and learned it would cost approximately $12,000 to do three hauls from the lake.

  • Authorized a rental agreement between the district and the University of Minnesota for a pollinator project to be seeded on district-owned property southwest of the Minnesota 60 and Nobles Street intersection. The agreement is for one year, with the option for the university to extend the lease up to three years as they develop a honey bee pollinator project on the nearly 15-acre parcel.
  • Learned that a commercial fisherman did seining on Lake Bella in October. The seining removed 14,000 pounds of buffalo fish and 200 pounds of carp from the lake.
  • Received an update from Livdahl regarding maintenance at Bella Park. A log gate that had been damaged by vandals was replaced, and Livdahl made repairs to the bathrooms in the park.
  • Voted to forgive the second half rental payment on district property rented by Terry Neugebauer due to the unproductiveness of the ground. The action was consistent with discussion a year ago about reducing rent on the 15-acre parcel.
  • Conducted election of officers, with Rolf Mahlberg elected president; Casey Ingenthron as vice-president; Jeff Rogers as secretary and Jay Milbrandt as treasurer.
  • Approved erosion control permits for the following: First State Bank Southwest during demolition and landscaping on its recently purchased property at the intersection of Oxford Street and Humiston Avenue; Smith Trucking during construction of a storage building on Kragness Avenue (the former Gay Drive-In property); and for the city of Worthington during reconstruction of the bike path in Olson Park, and during the construction of the splash pad in Centennial Park.
  • Appointed Ingenthron as a voting delegate at the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts annual meeting; and appointed him to the open seat on the Clean Water Partnership Joint Powers Board, which is comprised of representation from the watershed board and the Worthington City Council.
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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