By Steve Peterson
Plymouth County supervisors appointed Nick Beeck, the new Plymouth County Conservation Board Director, to the Loess Hills Alliance Board by a 5-0 vote at their July 16 meeting.
Other county business included supervisors:
• Discussed a proposal for a shared plan of costs for improvement for Chicago Central & Pacific Railroad crossings at Marble Avenue and Otter Avenue. Supervisors voted 5-0 to support pursuing these two improvements.
“Due to the growth in the area, I would support railroad improvements for Marble Avenue because it could save a life,” said Supervisor Craig Anderson.
“The estimated costs of the gate and light improvements is $181,455 with 10 percent local share. It depends on how the crossings rank with the DOT’s other funding requests. It could be one to five years,” said County Engineer Tom Rohe.
The railroad’s request to close crossings at other sites, Noble, Polk, Pioneer, Shamrock and Sunset Avenues, was not supported mainly due to access concerns and wishing to keep the local options open.
• In committee reports Supervisor Jack Guenthner said the Northwest Iowa Developers meeting was held last week and Kim Vandervelle attended an international meeting in Montreal, Canada, that was very beneficial. Plymouth County has paid its dues to be part of Northwest Iowa Developers for 2013.
Northwest Iowa Developers has filed an application with the state Economic Development Department for a $100,000 grant to be used in the Foreign Trade Zone Initiative. A staffer and an intern have been hired to survey businesses.
Guenthner said the Northwest Iowa Developers’ website has been vastly improved over the past, including use of the site listing employers and the skills they seek from employees.
• Discussed the county’s rating in the Iowa Municipalities Workmen’s Compensation Association of 1.20, which is lower than last year’s 1.29.
“Dave Schade of the IMWCA said it is very important for counties to have light-duty programs if an employee is injured. Then he or she can go right back to work, and it is often a quicker recovery process,” said Supervisor Don Kass, referring to an IMWCA meeting.
• Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper thanked supervisors for the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funding for equipment.
“We will use it for equipment for confined space rescues which can be used throughout the county,” said Schipper.
• Plymouth County Conservation Board members have given their support to a mountain bike trail at Hillview Recreation’s west end, said Beeck.
“We did not want it to interfere with our existing trails. It won’t look like a normal trail, only six inches wide, more of a deer trail. It may be open next spring,” said Beeck, adding the park has trails for horseback riding, walking or hiking.
At another site, Beeck said the extension to Five Ridge Prairie, at the property near Westfield, is being worked on for a parking lot.
• Beeck said the transition is going well at the Conservation Board as he took over July 1 from Dennis Sohl, who retired.
• Plymouth County supervisors meet every Tuesday except the fifth Tuesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. at the first floor board room, Plymouth County Courthouse, 215 Fourth St. SE, Le Mars. Meetings are open to the public.