Updates: ROCOG, Regional Transportation, Pathways to Prosperity, Flood Repairs, and Polluted Property

Rochester Olmsted Council of Governments (ROCOG)

ROCOG is made up of representatives from the City of Rochester, Olmsted County, Townships, smaller towns and community folks.  These representatives meet to plan the future transportation system.  The plan is made for 20-40 years into the future.  The plan is necessary to qualify for state and federal funds for highways and interchanges and allows current and future landowners to know where roads may be built or upgraded; the planning is also is done in concert with the land use plans of the county to provide a long range plan for utility and infrastructure location.  It takes into account future population growth and the need to move traffic and commerce safely and without congestion.  In addition to the minutes of the meetings, ROCOG will provide public presentations to inform the public and will gather public comments on the tentative long range plan.  At the July 19thmeeting, ROCOG approved the long-range plan draft to be presented to the public.

ROCOG meetings will be audio recorded and placed on ROCOG’s website. I supported the audio recordings by making the motion and the committee approved the motion by a unanimous vote.

Regional Transportation Coordinating Council of SE Minnesota

You can learn about the long range plans for forming a Regional Transportation Coordinating Council and the proposals to improve transit access for people of all ages and abilities throughout SE Minnesota.  In July several meeting will be held throughout the region to inform and receive public comment on the plan.  You are welcome to attend the July 25thmeeting from 4:00-6:00PM at 125 Live (125 Elton Hill Drive NE).  Other meetings will be held in Northfield, Albert Lea, and Winona.

$500,000

Olmsted County will receive $500,000 over two years from the Kresge Foundation to help fund the Pathways to Prosperity project.  This project will assist families to escape poverty and propel them into a stable economic situation.  Pathways, if it is shown to be successful, will reduce poverty, help families, and reduce the need for other forms of county assistance.  I believe this project shows great promise and support it.  The county continues to seek an addition $500,000 which is needed to fully fund this project.

Floods and Repairs and a BIG Thank You

Many of the county roads were washed out by the two floods at the and of June and beginning of July.  Many of the repairs were completed or in progress when the second flood occurred.  This doubled the cost of the repairs.  Olmsted will be applying for state disaster aid to cover part of the repair costs.  An early estimate, which did not include all the damaged areas or the materials needed, was between $600,000 and $800,000 of damage.  In addition, the campground at Oxbow was closed for over two weeks. Many thanks to the 60+ volunteers who helped clean up the flood damage after each flood event.  Olmsted is fortunate to have people who are willing to volunteer and work alongside our Park staff.

Olmsted Takes Possession of a Polluted Property

A property in Haverhill Township was used by the previous owner as an illegal dump for pollutants.  The owner refused to pay for the cleanup and abandoned the property without paying the taxes.  The county is still in the process of completing the clean up.  The County is investigating the possibility of working with People’s Power Coop to install a solar field.  The money generated from this would be used to defray other County expenses.  If you believe that someone is illegally dumping or storing pollutants, please let a county official know; you will be protecting the ground water and saving tax dollars.