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home : archived issues : news page Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1/31/2013 8:59:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
Planned motel is one-step closer

By MYRON J. SCHOBER
Tri-County Record Editor

Soil tests were authorized Monday by the Rushford City Council to make sure the site is ready for a 20-unit motel proposed by John and Eileen Loken of Houston. They are the builders and operators of the Sawmill Inn and Suites in Houston and propose a new construction on more than an acre of city-owned space between the muni/firehall buildings and Roy's Small Engine.

Their plan had been long in the works, but suspended when F & L Development proposed a motel; the dispute of which is still in litigation connected to the vacant community center. Eileen Loken said they are working on the financing numbers this week, and if it works out hope for construction this spring. It would be similar to their property in Houston which they opened in 2005 with 18 rooms with two double beds and two with king beds and Jacuzzis. The name is undecided, but she said it would contain the Loken name.

With all five members of the council present they debated the value of a fiscal impact study for the community that collects and projects the financial decisions of local governments including the largest one-the school. The plan now includes the city and the school...and maybe the Village and Peterson-there was interest at the last tri-cities meeting. "It would be good for all of us to know just what the impact of school district decisions on ... the city or the village or the townships." Councilman Mark Honsey moved to proceed with the study and ask the townships to sign on.

A viable police servicing contract from the city to village may exist now after years of dickering and bickering. The city has a multi-person police force, the village has none. The village is police served by Fillmore County sheriff's office, but a limited number of patrolling deputies makes coverage sparse.

In emergency situations the county dispatcher can assign a qualified officer, such as a Rushford officer to respond, even outside of the city. In the past those services went unreimbursed, but under the agreement now it will be paid on a when-called basis.

Moving city offices into the vacant municipal liquor building took another step as members authorized advertising for bids on the drawings accepted last summer. The estimated cost of conversion is $220,000. USDA Rural Development is offering a loan of up to $200,000. The vacated space in the present city hall/library would become a children's reading area.

The city's subsidy to the flower basket fund was increased from $1,500 to $3,600 to cover rising costs and more of Roger Colbenson's labor. "We do want to continue to be the Flower Basket Capital of Bluff Country," said Mayor Chris Hallum, "and we need to think ahead." Colbenson said he has some of his own money in the project, "But I like it and I have the pleasure of doing it." He was one of the original organizers nearly 20 years ago.

Councilman Colbenson has also been requesting that the city advertise for bids to mow the levees and airport to relieve city workers of the job. While some members insisted that the employees do a commendable job now, Councilman Vern Bunke agreed, "Let's find out...what somebody might be willing (to do)." Hallum and Colbenson will draft the advertisement for bids.

The city acknowledged a Minnesota Department of Transportation grant for 90 percent of the $112,000 cost for the Rushford Municipal Airport to acquire snow removal equipment and replace the signal beacon.





 

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