Archived Story

Dredging request in for 2014

Published 3:50pm Saturday, June 29, 2013

Officials submit Fountain Lake project for consideration in gov.’s bill

Though the 2014 legislative session is still months away, Shell Rock River Watershed District officials are taking steps to obtain $7.5 million in bonding funding to dredge Fountain Lake.

District officials submitted the project earlier this month to the Minnesota Management and Budget office to be considered in Gov. Mark Dayton’s 2014 bonding bill.

District Administrator Brett Behnke said the submittal of the request is the first step in preparing for the session. The office collects requests from local governments throughout the state and prepares them for the governor’s consideration.

“The community rallied behind our 2013 bonding request and their ongoing support is absolutely essential,” said Behnke in a news release. “The success of this project will create new economic opportunities through increased tourism and add to our quality of life.”

The district has already taken preliminary steps for the dredging, including purchasing a dredge and other equipment for the project, awarding a contract for preliminary engineering and negotiating the purchase of land that can be used for a staging area.

Last fall, the district purchased a 2010 IMS 7012 HP 51-foot Versi hydraulic dredge for about $340,000, along with the pipes, pumping and other equipment necessary to pump the dredge material away from the lake site for $435,000.

The entire project is estimated to cost $15 million.

“The bonding process is extremely competitive, but with the good effort in 2013 and the support of the community, we hope 2014 will be the year, Behnke said.

The office will release all initial project proposals in mid-July, and the governor will present his bonding proposal by Jan. 15.

Multiple local organizations have voiced support for the project, including the city of Albert Lea, the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Lakes Foundation and the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, among other community groups.