BLUE EARTH - Faribault County commissioners have approved applying for a grant to help spruce up two parks.
Michele Wigern of Soil and Water Conservation District and John McDonald, county engineer, told commissioners Tuesday that Faribault County could get a state grant for $205,000 that would be funded 90 percent by the Department of Natural Resources, with the county chipping in 10 percent, or $20,500.
The funds would be used to make improvements at Wood Lake Park and Pihls Park. The upgrades would include recycling, planting native plants, upgrading bathrooms and repairing roofs.
"Can we recover the cost of doing it?" asked Commissioner Tom Loveall. "The parks run in the red. They don't generate enough revenue to cover their costs."
Commissioner Greg Young figures better facilities will attract more people to the parks. Commissioner John Roper wanted to attract more campers. Commissioner Bill Groskreutz said he has been asked if the county is closing the parks to save money and said fixing the parks will be "a statement the board is making."
"It's an amenity for citizens of this county," said Commissioner Tom Warmka. "We'll make it work."
The board approved the resolution. Wigern said the application is due Oct. 31. The county will find out if it gets the grant in January or February, and should have the money in June 2012.
In other business, the board approved the building of a hog barn in Barber Township by David Martin.
The barn, which will be erected near another barn, will house more than 1,000 animals.
Young asked Martin when he planned to build and Martin replied, "Right away."
The permit allows up to two years to build.
Groskreutz mentioned that he has received complaints regarding dead hogs being left out.
Martin said the hogs cannot be seen from the road and he gets them picked up as soon as possible, but the truck does not run on Wednesdays or weekends.
Warmka said the truck misses a pickup by mistake sometimes too.
The board also approved:
o Entering into an agreement with Big Blue Wind Farm for the developer to inspect the roads and bridges and provide protection for the county drainage system.
o Hiring Mark Wallin as a maintenance man for the highway department. He is scheduled to start Monday.
o Paying non-union benefits of $786 per month for the 5000 HSA plan, and $655 for 3000 VEBA and Triple Gold plans. Nov. 15 is the enrollment date.