Would new fire station be best near other first responders?

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag told Freeborn County commissioners Tuesday he would like the proximity of having the new Albert Lea fire station built off of Newton Avenue.

The fire station is expected to include an emergency operations center, which would also involve the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement personnel.

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The question came after 2nd District Commissioner Dan Belshan asked whether the county would ever need the land being considered for the fire station in case of a possible expansion of the courthouse or jail.

Freitag said he thought the jail was built on a modular design, and if the jail ever needed to be added on to, contractors could build up.

The architect for the fire station unveiled the proposed design for the project earlier this month, and Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams at that time said that the city would not finalize a site for the station until at least July.

In addition to the Newton area, the city is considering putting the station on the Blazing Star Landing.

In other action, the board:

• Approved a resolution approving repairs to the drainage system.

• Approved Sheriff Kurt Freitag to attend the second part of a seminar with the National Center for Missing Children and Exploited Children for three days in July in Virginia.

Freitag said the trip is paid for, and the county would not be incurring any expense.

• Heard a presentation from Cedar River Watershed District Administrator Justin Hanson and board member Steve Kraushaar.

• Accepted a resolution for the One Watershed, One Plan. The plan encourages local governments to work with watershed districts toward clean water efforts.

• Approved a request from Clayton Petersen to rezone a portion of a parcel of property in Pickerel Lake Township on 220th Street.

• Approved a request from SoCore for the siting of a 1.5 megawatt photovoltaic energy system on property owned by Clint and Heidi McGill in Albert Lea Township.

• Placed employee Erin Hornberger on regular full-time status.

• Approved a resolution increasing an advance from the general fund to the health insurance fund in the amount of $35,000.

Freeborn County Administrator Tom Jensen said it was a one-time transfer.

• Set a special county board meeting for July 31 at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds. The exact location was yet to be determined.

• Discussed the need for the state to do a traffic study regarding speed limits in Oakland.

District 2 Commissioner Dan Belshan said the speed limit is 55 mph, but he thinks it should be lower because of a school called First Baptist School with 10 students.

Freeborn County Attorney David Walker said a traffic study was done at the same site in 2014, but it is unclear whether that was done when the school was in existence.

The board will have Freeborn County Public Works Director Sue Miller work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation regarding the study.