The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors gave their final approval to the Five Year Road Construction Program during their meeting on Tuesday, April 1.
As part of the discussion relating to the program, John Josephson, Ruthven-Ayrshire High School Principal, Andy Wiowood, shared Superintendent of Ruthven-Ayrshire and Graettinger-Terril and Rod Hough, GT Athletic Director spoke to the supervisors, giving them an update of the road condition between Ruthven and Graettinger. According to Josephson, N26 had developed several major bumps. "The road has gotten so rough, students have been thrown from their seats," said Josephson. "The plan now is to transport the students on Highways 4 and 18. He added, "We just want you to know this is a huge priority for both districts."
Wiowood added he believes the back route between the two towns is safer for the kids and added they really don't want the sports teams to be using the gravel roads.
County Engineer Joel Fantz outlined the construction plan, which has incorporated an unfunded 5 mile project on county roads B25 and N26 in the 2016-2019 plan. Those roads are between Ruthven and Graettinger. The plan would use concrete in the project. The roads are designated as Farm to Market, but Fantz informed those gathered that by 2017 the Farm to Market monies are projected to be $700,000 in the hole.
Fantz told the supervisors he has asked the county's financial advisor to explore the possibility of additional bonding to assist with the project. He added, "The only other thing to do is to take from somewhere else."
Board of Supervisor Chair asked Fantz if there was a cheaper way to do the road than with concrete. Fantz stated that concrete has the same costs and lasts longer than an overlay. "When you look at life cycle costs, concrete is a better cost.
Fantz told the school personnel the county is trying to be responsive to the concerns. Wiowood asked if there was anything else they could do and Fantz encouraged them to contact the state legislators regarding the gas tax increase.
"It might speak volumes if they are told the issue is important to more than the trucking industry," said Fantz.
The Ruthven to Graettinger road repairs also was tied into the discussion of the scope of the Rodman Road project. The pubic meeting for that project is scheduled for April 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Rodman Community Building.
In other business before the supervisors, they approved a resolution for an Enterprise Zone Application for additional property in Emmetsburg's Rockport development. According to Maureen Albert, Kossuth/Palo Alto Economic Development Director, this zone includes 5,803 acres and allows for tax credits to the developer.