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Ottertail City Council discusses high water levels

The Ottertail City Council discussed area high water levels at its regularly scheduled meeting on May 5.

High water levels in the region have taken a toll even in the generally unaffected city of Ottertail. Water has now risen over part of the road that goes between the lowlands to the west of Donald Lake.

"I think we're looking at a situation where at some point we're going to need to do something to try to build that road up some. It's a little bit of a hazard right now," Ottertail Maintenance Supervisor Lee Sherman reported to the council.

Sherman said he has placed cones and flags down by the flooded section of the road, but they keep disappearing. The city is trying to resolve the water problem, but it's difficult because of the swampland on either side of the road.

Options for rebuilding the road include adding some class-5 gravel or possibly overlaying the road. It would be a challenge for the city to even attempt to build a shoulder on the road because the class-5 has a tendency to just sink into the swamp. Either way, the city will have to wait to fix the problem until the water level goes down.

Ottertail Mayor Myron Lueders asked Sherman if the city had any other high water issues.

"We really don't have a lot of water issues in Ottertail," Sherman replied, adding how the city is in a good position to handle high water levels. However, Sherman did say that the water levels in the city are as high as he's ever seen--an observation echoed by several longtime Ottertail residents.

In other Ottertail news, the city will soon be sending residents a letter and survey regarding the city property's sewer system. The purpose of the survey is to help the city determine the condition of septic systems throughout the city.

Elaine Hanson, Ottertail city clerk/treasurer, mentioned that if residents have more than one property, they should fill out a separate survey for each property. Additional information about the survey will be available in the first edition of the Ottertail newsletter that will soon be distributed to residents.

Also mentioned at the meeting was the progress on the city's bike path project. Hanson reported that the city received a letter from the project development engineer saying that the project memorandum had been approved. She said everything is moving along smoothly, with the fundraising right on target for the project.

The Ottertail bike path is scheduled for construction and completion next year. Federal dollars will be allocated for the project in 2012. To date, Ottertail has raised an impressive amount of community support and funds for the bike path project. The estimated cost of construction in 2012 is $237,193.

The city's share of cost, which includes 20 percent of the construction costs and administration, engineering and legal fees, is estimated at $106,737. Federal dollars the city applied for and obtained through the Transportation Enhancement Program will be used to cover the rest of the construction costs.

About the Ottertail path

The path has been designed to begin at the intersection of Maple Street and Highway 108, by Ottertail Home Center, and continue down the north side of Highway 108. At the junction of Highway 108 and Highway 78, the path will take a 90-degree turn and continue down Highway 78 until its intersection with Willow Road.

The Willow Road ending spot was chosen because it is situated directly across the road from where Highway 1 intersects with Highway 78. This proximity will give people using the path the option to continue their journey down the wide shoulder that presently exists on Highway 1.

With the 1.7 mile path beginning in the "old section" of Ottertail and ending in the "new section" by Otter Tail Lake, it will serve as a connector between an otherwise divided city.

The path will be paved, and located on the right-of-way of the highway. It will be limited strictly to non-motorized use, primarily for walkers, runners, bicyclists and rollerbladers. In addition to providing a safe environment for its users, the creation of the path will promote a healthy, active lifestyle for area residents.