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Ottertail bike path to be built around burial mound; City gets additional federal funds to cover excavation costs

A plan is still in place to have the Ottertail bike path complete this fall; however, rapidly approaching cold weather could put a stop to further construction, necessitating a spring finish.

Chris McConn, Interstate Engineering, provided an update on the progress of the path at an Oct. 18 meeting of the Ottertail City Council. He reported that $26,000 in additional federal funds have been allocated to the project to cover excavation costs of the Native American burial mound adjacent to the path.

After the recent discovery of human remains at the burial mound site, a decision has been made to move the slope out around the mound so the bike path will be closer to Highway 108. The estimated cost for this adjustment is $4,600.

McConn also mentioned that if the path doesn't get paved this year, the topsoil would need to be mulched at an expense of just under $5,000.

Parts of the path did not meet the specifications set forth in the original contract, meaning these problems need to be fixed before the project can be completed.

For example, the sub grade on the path did not meet the original contract qualifications. The pavement not being thick enough in certain areas means the construction crew will need to rip out areas that have been paved and repave them to meet the specifications for the path.

Also at the meeting:

-Kathy Wagenman, on behalf of the Ottertail Auction Committee, provided members of the council with information about countertop and cabinet costs for an Ottertail Community Center improvement project.

"We've been talking about adding cabinets along the east wall from where the carpet starts all the way to the end," she explained. "Now that we have everything put together, the community auction group would like to make a nice donation toward this project."

The council approved a motion to accept a $2,250 bid for the cabinets and a $480 bid for the countertop. The countertop bid included labor costs, but the cabinet bid did not. Wagenman said the plan is to arrange for volunteers to help with cabinet installation.

New commercial grade appliances for the community center kitchen will be installed right after the new year.

"Thank you for all of the work you're doing with this. The community really gets the benefit," said councilmember, Mike Windey.

Windey also reported to the council about the most recent meeting of the Ottertail Planning Committee.

"We're trying to increase the size of the planning committee," Windey said.

The idea was brought up to include individuals who may not live in the city limits but who are very invested in the city of Ottertail. Members of the Ottertail Fire Department and Rod and Gun Club are some of the possible candidates he mentioned.

"The city is growing a little bit and we want to plan ahead," Windey added.

-The city acknowledged a donation of 10 picnic tables valued at $1,500 from Ottertail Home Center.

-A three-year audit proposal from the city's current auditor, Brian Koehn, was accepted.

-Patrick Hollister, with PartnerSHIP 4 Health, shared a "Complete Streets" presentation and encouraged the city to look into creating a pedestrian and biking friendly community.