More than $4.6 million on the way for Wadena’s utility extension project

The funds help cover the cost of a utility extension to the new Tri-County Health Care facility.

Greenwood Construction.jpg
Drivers looking to navigate down Greenwood Avenue will find the roadway is closed. Construction crews have this road tore up as work is fully under way to add utilities and realign the roadway through this rather rural portion of town. Detours are currently in place for those looking to get around this area.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal
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WADENA — The city of Wadena is positioned to soon start paying for utility extension work with bond funds coming to the city July 13.

George Eilertson with Northland Securities visited the council, Tuesday, June 14, to discuss the awarding of a bid for the bond sale related to the f $4,690,000 general obligation improvement bonds to be used for the utility extension to the new Tri-County Health Care hospital, soon to be Astera Health.

Work completed on the project as of May 25 has already added up to over $827,000. The road is currently closed and detour signs alert drivers to find a way around this area of northwest Wadena.

In other actions, the council:

  • Approved the slate of election judges as presented. Judges include: Precinct 1: Edward Lewis – Head Judge; Mark Anson; James Olson; Vickie Bruininga.
    Precinct 2: Keri Jacobson Jenson – Head Judge; Deb Folkestad; Connie Olson; Annette Blazek.
    Precinct 3: Kristen Szathmary – Head Judge; Richard Reinke; Daniel Touchette; Elaine Lorentz.
    Precinct 4; Del Moen – Head Judge; Gwen Anderson; Lorraine Venzke; Soledad Henriksen. Greeter: Carmen Peterson. Alternates: Jayne Koranda, Lloyd Lanz, Kim Schroeder, Steven Fah, Phil Iverson.
  • Approved adjustment to temporary pay, removing temporary pay increases for some employees in the absence of a full-time administrator. New city administrator Kim Schroeder noted that she is still dependent on interim administrator David Evans currently as she seeks to learn more about current projects in the city. Rather than the full stipend, Evans requested half the amount, which the council happily accepted. A total of nine employees were being paid a portion of the pay to complete the work on hand.
  • Mauricio Gutierrez Espana and Fabiola Zuluaga Lopez had their liquor application approved to serve liquor at their new business “Crazy Burrito” at 500 Ash Ave NW, the former site of El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant on Hwy 10 west in Wadena.
  • Approved Carol Danielson and Mary Shul as both campground hosts at the Sunnybrook Campground.
  • Approved Dana Dam for the Wadena planning commission for a three year term.
  • Approved the Deer Creek Lions for a gambling license to offer gambling at The Uptown restaurant. The administrator of the work for the Lions, Steve Techam, shared that it’s a lot of paperwork involved, but it pays dividends in money that they have been able to give back to the communities, largely to the Wadena-Deer Creek students. He added that while it does raise funds for the local communities, it also raises a lot of money for the state.

“We paid the state six figures,” Techam said.
“They know how to spend it,” Councilman Bruce Uselman replied.
The Deer Creek Lions also offer gambling out of the Shoreline Restaurant in Battle Lake and Bootleggers in Deer Creek.


  • In department reports, the council heard from Utilities Superintendent David Evans that he was finally able to secure a truck to be built after finding a chassis and track manufacturer. The $296,000 bucket truck was just under the $300,000 budget but still will not be delivered until summer 2023.
    Evans added that the water tower work begins Monday, June 20, with the draining of the water tower. Water will still be flowing through to homes, though Evans cautioned against allowing trucks to be filled with water in an effort to keep water available to residents. The contractors renovating the water tower have 75 days to complete their work once it is drained.
  • Planning and zoning director Dean Uselman shared that he received an inquiry for another new home. He said he believes Wadena will hit 10 new homes this year.
  • Heard from Wadena library branch manager Renee Frethem that the new library is moving along with concrete work complete, final furnishings going in and an electrical panel installed. They are still waiting on HVAC work to be complete.

“Once HVAC is done and inspections are done- it’s a go,” Frethem said.

More steps are taken to start work on Greewood Avenue and a public hearing is planned for work on Third Street NW at 6 p.m. on June 1.

  • The council heard a request from Tevin Askew who is planning a large outdoor grill and sporting event at the basketball courts at the Southwest playgrounds. He has big plans to serve a big crowd at the "Cookout, Grillout, Ballout" event. At this time the council asked Askew to hone in on exactly what he needed from the city to move forward with an event. He listed a great number of needs that will require donations of materials, food, sporting equipment and monetary donations. Part of the event’s aim was to host a basketball tournament in conjunction with a lot of grilled food. More information to come on this event. Askew is a former graduate of WDC and said he hopes to honor his grandmother through the event.
  • William Slater, of Motley, visited the council asking about offering taxi service in the city of Wadena. He has insurance in the city of Motley, where he resides, for a total of $100,000/$300,000 liability coverage. He was told that to serve in Wadena he’d have to obtain insurance of up to $1 million coverage. Slater questioned why the amount was higher in Wadena, when he said Brainerd also did not request that amount. The council and city administrator were going to look further into what should be required for such a service or if any is needed if the service is not picking up customers in Wadena.
He's a writer, editor, photographer, truth seeker and promoter of the Wadena area.
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