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Public Hwy 10 conversation with MnDOT is Dec. 8

Business owners are eager to be heard concerning access ideas.

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Interested parties gathered around a map showing a planned four-lane expansion through Wadena on Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal
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WADENA — If you have comments or concerns of the most recent plans for the Hwy 10 expansion through Wadena, the next opportunity to be heard is from 4-6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Maslowski Wellness & Research Center.

This meeting comes after a first gathering in August, where MnDOT had the first opportunity to share initial plans and gather feedback from the community.

A meeting of business people along Hwy 10 also met with MnDOT officials in November to further discuss the hopes of the business community to maintain access points with the creation of four lanes on portions of the highway that are now two lanes. At that point several new recommendations were brought forward.

Incoming Wadena City Council member Dan Sartell also attended the meeting and had concerns that things were going to get moving quickly after the next upcoming public meeting on December 8. He considered some of the design to be illogical and in need of further changes.

The project has been talked about for at least 40 years.

“I think that this city should be advocating for the businesses along Hwy 10, both north and south side, to get those access points changed,” Sartell said.

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Councilman Wade Miller said that his understanding was that there are trade offs that can be made to move entrances. He feels those desires are being taken into consideration.

City Administrator Kim Schroeder said that MnDOT will start conversations with property owners about acquiring land for this expansion following the December 8 meeting, but that decisions are not final at that point.

“MnDOT is listening,” Schroeder said. She said MnDOT wants to start zeroing in on what this will look like.

Wadena Hide and Fur business owners, Tom and Rich Paper both updated the council during their November 15 meeting that MnDOT was taking some of their concerns into consideration, but they wanted to continue to press the council to be advocates for them.

There is still time to comment on this project through an online survey through September 10, 2022. Find that option at www.mndot.gov/d3/projects/wadena/h10/

Utility Superintendent David Evans hoped that the city could hear from the business owners to better understand what it is that they want to see.

“Every business along the corridor east or west is being affected by this, generally not in a helpful way in this point in time,” R. Paper said. “So I think we can at least have some 50/50 (compromise) with MnDOT.”

“MnDOT’s goal is to move traffic and our goal is to remind them that we have businesses,” Evans said.

Speaking to that, T. Paper said that they needed to work hard to ensure that this project would be done right as it will be affecting the future direction of Wadena for many decades to come.

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“A project of this magnitude is going to have an impact on Wadena 30, 40, 50 years from now,” T. Paper said. “So that’s why I think it’s so important for all of the different players to be able to really work with MnDOT so that everyone is really happy with it and that the impact over the coming decades is really a positive one, not neutral or negative.”

He was encouraged that MnDOT is getting lots of feedback and that they appeared to be receptive.

Mayor George Deiss shared that he felt that since the first draft was seen, the design has seen improvements. He wanted to not just consider how this project affects current businesses, but those businesses that are to come.

Economic Development director Dean Uselman agreed, saying he wanted to be closely involved as he knew of new businesses that are interested in this corridor. He wants to be an advocate for them as well.

The expansion project will involve acquiring property, will change access from what it is now and is expected to cost around $35 million, according to MnDOT's project page .

Guests can come and go as they please from 4-6 p.m. during the December 8 meeting as there will not be a formal presentation. The Maslowski Wellness and Research Center is located at 17 5th St. SW, Wadena.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in the city of Verndale, Minn., but is bent on making it as country as he can until he returns once more to the farm living he enjoys. Also living the dream are his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at mjohnson@agweek.com or 218-640-2312.
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