In Dayton’s projects bill, tiny Hallock scores big

Published 9:13 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015

ST. PAUL — A city in the northernmost reaches of Minnesota with fewer than 1,000 people is getting outsized attention in Gov. Mark Dayton’s construction projects bill.

In the measure Dayton outlined Tuesday, tiny Hallock is in line for state borrowing of about $1 million for three projects. The city would get help fixing a deteriorated sewer system, building a new fire hall and replacing the city pool.

Projects like that often get criticized as being too parochial for a state public works bill. But Dayton ardently defended the offering and compared the improvements to civic center renovations commonly approved for bigger cities.

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“Downtown improvements in Hallock are a smaller scale of downtown improvements which I’ve been advocating for Minneapolis and St. Paul and for years for Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud,” Dayton said. “It makes a lot of difference to the folks of Hallock, who don’t have the resources as a small community up in the northwestern corner.”

City clerk Ryan Evenson said the projects are of critical importance to Kittson County’s largest city, which has an existing, aging firehouse too small for today’s needs and a pool that’s a magnet for area visitors.

Dayton has long had a soft spot for Hallock, making it a stop in his 2010 “Four Corners Tour” campaign tour and visiting soon after taking office in 2011. He gave the city a mention in his first State of the State address.

It doesn’t hurt either that Hallock is represented by Senate Capital Investment Chairman LeRoy Stumpf.

Democrat key to passage of the overall borrowing plan. In the House, veteran Republican Rep. Dan Fabian’s district covers the city.