Grimes appointed to Ottertail council

By Jenna Baker


At the October meeting, the Ottertail City Council heard from Bob Schlieman, of Apex Engineering, who provided the council with an update on the assessment plan for the Happy Acres Development. He presented two options for the council to decide upon before the public hearing.

The first option included no assessments for “Parcel B,” or the United Methodist Church, for the street improvements, watermain or water service. Under this option, the cost assessed per property, excluding “Parcel B,” would have been $21,370.41. The second scenario included assessing “Parcel B” for just the street improvements, not the watermain or water service as that was already in place. Cost per parcel under this plan would be $20,410.02 with costs for “Parcel B” to be $10,546.30 for street improvements only. 

After discussion among the council, it was decided to go with a second scenario presented. 

A public hearing was set for 5:30 p.m. on November 18, just prior to the council meeting, for these proposed assessments. 

Also present at the council meeting was Jeff and Holly Weller of Henning. The Wellers applied for a land use application to ensure the property they have a purchase agreement on would be an acceptable lot for a business. The couple currently own and operate AutoFix out of Henning and are looking to expand with a second location in Ottertail at the corner of County Highway 108 and County Road 55.

They explained a little bit about the background of AutoFix, noting that they have been in business for 10 years and do everything for vehicles from a simple oil change to a complete engine replacement. Jeff explained that they want to provide an option for locals to get their vehicles serviced, no matter the repair, without the need to travel a long distance or visit a dealership. 

The council was enthusiastic to hear of their plan to come to Ottertail. After review of the application, they informed the Wellers that the lot is acceptable for such a business and welcomed them to the community.

Additionally at the October meeting, the council held a vote to fill its open seat left after councilmember Judah Burlingame resigned. Three letters of application were presented to fill the open spot on the council. By a unanimous vote, Jessica Grimes was elected into the seat. The position will be held by Grimes for the remainder of the term, which is one year and two months. 

The council encouraged those who didn’t win the vacant seat to run for open spots on the council as they will be coming up in the near future with elections in 2022.

In other news

• Schlieman also informed the council of the Transportation Alternatives grant that is again available for funds that could be put towards the Tyler Wohlers Trail. He explained that the last time the city applied it was just for improvements to the intersection of County Highways 108 and 78. Schlieman said that he would recommend applying for both the improvements at the intersection and for creation of the trail itself. He noted that the funds awarded would be for construction costs only and would be available in 2025 as it is federal funding. The council determined to proceed with applying for this grant again. 

• Heard an update on costs for the pickleball court improvements and expansion was heard, including estimates for concrete, fencing and coating with coloring and lines for the court. It was noted that not all aspects would need to be done at once and some work, such as fence work, could possibly be done with volunteers.

Samantha VanWechel-Meyer of West Central Initiative was also present at the meeting to provide an update on what the organization has done and continues to do for the area. A highlight she noted was that since January 2020, $42,000 in grants have been awarded to residents and businesses of Ottertail City. 

• Lueders Road was of discussion, noting that improvements are needed. The council passed a motion approving for Ahlfs Construction to grade the road yet this fall and to add Class 5 aggregate as soon as possible in the spring, as doing so yet this fall is not feasible.