Winsted to tackle airport land acquisition in small pieces

WINSTED, MN – At a special meeting Thursday, July 13, the Winsted City Council decided to take one small step in acquiring land for the airport runway paving project.

The council plans to formally approve a contract with ProSource Technologies (a consulting firm that specializes in right-of-way and site acquisition services) at its regular meeting, Tuesday, July 18.

The contract will be for a title search and first meeting with owners of two of the properties the city hopes to acquire, at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

“This first meeting will tell us a lot,” commented Ron Roetzel, aviation group manager with Bolton & Menk.

Roetzel noted that ProSource has a “long history of addressing these types of issues,” and knows how to approach property owners. He noted that perceived vs. actual impact can sometimes be different, and ProSource listens to property owners’ concerns.

In order for the paving project to be successful, a total of eight landowners must agree to sell a portion of their properties. The two that the city is working with first are the Otto property and the Winsted Farmers Co-op Creamery, because they are considered the most “unwilling” sellers.

If paving takes place, the city will be reimbursed for 95 percent of its land acquisition fees through a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

If an agreement cannot be reached with all landowners, the city would not be reimbursed unless it chooses to acquire the land through eminent domain. Council Member Tom Ollig said the city will not go this route. He explained that the city attempted to take a property this way many years ago, and it caused “hard feelings” that lasted for generations.

After the $5,000 agreement is approved July 18, ProSource will seek meetings with the Otto property and the Winsted Farmers Co-op Creamery owners and report back. From there, the council can decide to either move forward with another step in the land acquisition process, or forgo paving the runway.

“As much as I’d like to see it turfed, for $5,000 we probably have to give it a shot,” said Ollig, who had been a dissenting voter in the council’s previous decision to pave the runway.

Look for more details in the Friday, July 21 edition of the Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.

7 comments

  1. City Taxpayer says:

    Why doesn’t the council do it’s own dirty work instead of hiring professionals to go after the local taxpayers/landowners? These same taxpayers will be paying part of their taxes for the city to try and take away their land! I don’t think this is the right way to MAKE people sell their land!!! A big consulting firm against a single private landowner or business that we have supported for many years! The city staff and the council should be ashamed of themselves for hiding behind someone else to do their dirty work!!!!!!

  2. The voice of reason says:

    This is in regards to the project at large. When the construction begins, I would like to propose that McLeod County Road 5 be widened and shoulder space added to the current road starting at McLeod County Road 1 up to much talked about rerouting of Cable Avenue.

    Reasons for this include:
    1. As more and more people have built houses and business along the road, there is a lot of truck (semi truck, pick up truck, gas guzzling type trucks, dump trucks) and cars who frequently use this section of road. Individuals who can’t be bother to drive with discretion or caution.

    As a person who likes to use the road for uses other than driving, say by biking, or walking, would appreciate some shoulder space.

    2. I’ve almost been struck by speeding motorists more times that I can count on my two hands. By motorist who can’t be bothered to slow down especially in the first 2/5 mile of McLeod County Road 5 It’s as if that first section of the highway was designed as an acceleration lane to get up to cruising speed.

    3. The road is a death trap. It’s antiquated design of the 30s needs an update.

    4. We don’t have to worry about environmental impact, now that we’ve sufficiently demolished wild life habitat to put up a solar farm? wtf

    like there isn’t enough cleared away land … in this state… like vacant industrial lots…

  3. The Big Easy says:

    Voice of reason says
    As a person who likes to use the road for uses other than driving, say by biking, or walking, would appreciate some shoulder space.

    Isn’t this the reason that we paid to pave the Luce line, so you could walk and ride bike on that, they both run the same direction, try staying off County Road 5.

  4. The voice of reason says:

    The trail doth not runeth througheth

    There’s a gap. I would fantastically stay off of County 5. BTW thanks for whoever put up the signs for the luce line trail. Bikers be confused. But a portion of it wasn’t paved… Let’s use some Eminent Domain here and finish the project. As for the airport, I’m more of a helicopter guy, so I don’t need a runway.

  5. The voice of reason says:

    P.S. Not all bikes are created equal. I don’t have the right type of tire on my bike for grass trail and rough terrain.

  6. Zack Strap says:

    Dear voice of reason…..

    If you have a bike that only works on tar don’t you think that bikers should pay for the paved trail then? They are the only people that need the trail paved.

    All other users (snowmobiles, horses, and cross country skiers) pay to use the trail.

    Yours truly.

    Trail user that pays to use it…..

  7. The voice of reason says:

    To all:

    First of all, I haven’t seen much “maintaining” anywhere on the trail. So I’ll just cut right to the chase. I believe that the trail is a public good. And as a public good, it should be funded by “the government”, (e.g.,: McLeod County or local municipalities: such as the city therein or township) However, if a private organization such as the “Snowmobile Club” “Horse Farm INC” or “Cross-Country Skier Club” is putting up the funds for the asphalt, then yeah — I guess those organizations should find a way to put a toll on the trail, so all parties involved can share the cost. Hence: avoiding the free-rider problem you so poignantly shared above.

    However, isn’t the trail ‘sponsored’ by the aforementioned clubs? Therefore assuming the responsibility of maintenance and such?

    I’m not aware of who paid for the paving.

    Furthermore, the gap that exist, where there is no pavement… its not like you have to pave the entire works. perhaps that portion could be crushed limestone and the use of a Roller and flatten the earth.