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Wadena board discusses ways to deal with fairgrounds rainwater issue

The July 11 rain event left portions of the county fairgrounds under water once again. During the past several years, Wadena commissioners have struggled to find methods of draining the water away from the fairgrounds.

The county has installed rain gardens, brought in tons of dirt to raise the level of parts of the property, put in drain tile, regraded the roads in the fairgrounds and installed larger culverts. Everything has helped, but the rain still pools in the low areas.

At the July 22 county board meeting, commissioners and County Engineer Ryan Odden discussed the stormwater problem once again. Odden presented three more options to commissioners: (1) install a run of 24-inch pipe toward a catch basin at the north end of the fairgrounds, (2) install an eight-inch pipe via directional boring along Birch Avenue leading to a catch basin at the east end of the fairgrounds, or (3) raise the level of the midway area by trucking in tons of gravel.

Commissioners were not overjoyed with any of the options. They directed Odden to contact the City of Wadena and speak with the city's engineering firm, Bolten and Menk about tying the fairgrounds in with the City's sewer system.

Commissioners also discussed the possibility of designating Birch Avenue as a county road, thus making it eligible for additional funds to help pay for stormwater abatement in the fairgrounds area.

Also on July 22, commissioners and Auditor/Treasurer Judy Taves, Taves' staff, Assessor Lee Brekke and County Attorney Kyra Ladd spent more than two hours discussing each parcel eligible for the upcoming tax-forfeited land sale, and setting a minimum bid price for each parcel. The tax-forfeited land sale will be held Sept. 6 at the courthouse, with Taves serving as auctioneer. More than 90 parcels of land are to be sold. Parcels as large as 80 acres will be auctioned to the highest bidder, beginning with the minimum prices set by the county board. Many parcels have river or lake frontage. For a complete listing of the parcels and maps showing their location, interested buyers are invited to visit the Auditor/Treasurer's office at the Courthouse in Wadena.

In other business, the board:

• Voted to hold a public hearing on the local option sales tax on Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.

• Approved hiring an additional permanent part-time Jailer/Dispatcher in the Sheriff's Department.

• Heard a request from Don Goeden and Gary Van Dam to send a letter to MnDOT asking for replacement of an undersized culvert beneath U.S. Hwy 10 near Verndale that is causing stormwater to back up into a pasture.