New dredge to be housed at fairgrounds

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Shell Rock River Watershed District board of managers on Tuesday approved storing the district’s dredge at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds until dredging begins.

Brett Behnke

Watershed District Administrator Brett Behnke said the 51-foot 2010 IMS 7012 HP Versi dredge, pumps and other equipment will be stored in the cattle building. The space will be rented for 25 cents per square foot — or about $4,500 per year.

Behnke said the dredge and equipment are anticipated to be in storage until 2014 when district officials hope to begin removing sediment from Fountain Lake.

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He said the managers discussed whether to rent a facility or build a new structure for storage, but the main reason the managers wanted to keep the dredge at the fairgrounds was so it would be available for view and fundraising at the fair.

District officials purchased the dredge for $340,000 during an auction Sept. 24 at Ritchie Bros. in Owatonna. The pumps and other equipment were purchased for $435,000.

Community leaders have called the purchase a major step toward the district’s goal to restore lake quality and habitat in Fountain Lake and other area lakes. The next steps include engineering, permitting, land acquisition and securing supplemental funding to support the project.