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Shooting Star Trail may expand south to Iowa route

Published 10:25am Wednesday, February 27, 2013


The Shooting Star Trail could be pedaling for another destination: Iowa.

The Mitchell County Board of Supervisors spoke to the Mower County Board Tuesday about linking Iowa’s Wapsi-Great Western Trail with the Shooting Star Trail near Taopi.

The Wapsi-Great Western Trail is currently about a mile from the Minnesota border, but the Mitchell supervisors — Iowa’s version of commissioners — don’t want to spend money unless the Mower County board intends to expand south about four miles to the Iowa border.

“If you folks are willing to come down, we’re willing to go up,” Mitchell Supervisor Stan Walk told the county board.

Mitchell County has come up against a few road blocks with home owners to reach the Minnesota border, but officials are still willing to get the project completed to Minnesota, as long as the Shooting Star is waiting on the other end of the state border. Mitchell County has about $350,000 set aside for the portion of trail, but the supervisors would find a different purpose for the money or return the dollars to the state if there’s no interest in expanding the Shooting Star.

“If we’re just heading for a dead-end, we might want to save our money and do something else,” Supervisor Joel Voaklander said.

The supervisors want the Mower County board to commit to heading south by early this summer.

Mower County officials will decide for certain an upcoming meeting, but seemed receptive to the idea Tuesday.

Commissioner Polly Glynn said it would be sad to no connect the trails since they’re so close, and Prairie Visions member Gerald Meier said he thinks the group would have a good chance of securing funds from the state of Minnesota.

“I don’t foresee any problem getting the money,” he said.

The rest of the board was mostly positive, too.

“It makes sense to me to link them up,” Chairman Jerry Reinartz said.

County board may buy old Humane Society

As the Mower County Humane Society readies to move into its new home, it may have a buyer for the old one.

The county board voted 4-1, with Commissioner Tony Bennett voting no, to approve a tentative purchase of the old Humane Society.

The main purpose for the purchase is that County Road 45 — or 10th Drive SE — along the old building floods occasionally with runoff from the road, and the county will likely use the roughly 1.2 acres of land for drainage improvements.

“In the future, it will make drainage improvements along this corridor simpler … if we are able to acquire that property,” County Engineer Mike Hanson said.

The main issue is drainage from the road and neighboring ditches. During major flood events, water runs over the top of the road and straight through the middle of the building.

Most of the board is OK with the Humane Society’s $35,000 asking price for the property, saying it’s fair given the assessed value of the property.

“The finance committee feels that this is a reasonable price,” Commissioner Mike Ankeny said.

But, Bennett voted no because he’s not sure the price will stay at $35,000. The property has been a number of businesses over the years and may have been a gas station. There’s some concern that the former gas tanks weren’t decommissioned properly, which would cause a number of issues and added costs.

Even if there are issues, the county board may not incur the added costs, as the board approved the purchase contingent one or two environmental assessments.

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