Otter Tail County commissioners, on Tuesday, May 5, reviewed new affordable housing development to serve county residents who are experiencing housing instability.

Much of this instability is due to mental illness and individuals facing homelessness.

“The vision for this new development has come together over the past 18 months,” said County Human Services Director Deb Sjostrom.

This is the result of Otter Tail County government working in coordination with various agencies, both public and private.

“A permanent supportive housing model, with the (Housing and Redevelopment Authority) providing affordable apartments while working with service providers, was identified as a solution,” Sjostrom told county commissioners.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

The first apartment complex, scheduled for construction in 2021, will be a three-story building in Fergus Falls with 24 furnished one-bedroom apartments. The land is owned by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Construction in other areas of Otter Tail County also is planned for future years.

Recommendations for these projects also include units for people experiencing housing instability due to mental illness and homelessness.

“Quality housing, security, and a welcoming environment for individuals in need of affordable housing is part of our mission,” Sjostrom added.

Otter Tail County will continue to work in coordination with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Beyond Shelter Inc., a nonprofit developer of affordable housing based in Fargo.

Spitzer Lake no-wake wins board approval

Also May 5, commissioners approved a 30-day no-wake zone for Spitzer Lake, south of Battle Lake. This takes effect on May 23.

All watercraft within 250 feet of the shoreline will be required not to exceed a speed whereby a wake or wave is produced behind the watercraft.

Boats should operate at the minimum speed, due to high water issues at Spitzer Lake. Users of boats, at the same time, will be able to maintain steering and make headway.

It’s possible that the no-wake zone may be extended through the end of the summer. Before that happens, Otter Tail County will seek advice through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

County unemployment claims stand at 4,387

A total of 4,387 residents of Otter Tail County filed for unemployment insurance between March 15 and May 5.

“Some of those people have since then returned to work,” said Amy Baldwin, community development director for Otter Tail County.

As for reopening of businesses throughout the county, she told county commissioners that members of a COVID-19 response committee emphasize support for businesses as well as providing for safe work environments.

Road project updates

County Engineer Chuck Grotte, on May 5, reviewed area road projects with county commissioners.

  • Highway 1, from 0.2 miles east of Highway 10 to Highway 35, is seeing resumed paving. The completion date is June 12. This project runs east of Elizabeth on Highway 1 to the former Barnhard School building.
  • Highway 1, from 0.8 miles east of Highway 14 to Highway 78 in Ottertail, has a work project start date yet to be determined. There is a completion date of Sept. 18. This section is along the northeast side of Otter Tail Lake.
  • Resurfacing of Highway 35, from Highway 1 to Highway 41, was scheduled for bids on May 6. This project has a scheduled completion date of Aug. 28. This project runs from West Lost Lake to Dead Lake.