Improvements being proposed for County Road 50

By Robert Williams


Probation Director Michael Schommer spoke on enhancing the county’s Youth At Risk Development (YARD) Probation Program for at-risk juveniles by coordinating with CrossFit, a branded fitness regimen that involves constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.

According to the agreement between the two programs, Otter Tail County will identify at-risk juvenile candidates from the probation program that would be a good fit for CrossFit.

“When you look at alternatives, such as placements, that’s about $350 per day, so this is a relatively inexpensive way of working more on prevention and intervention in the community versus the alternative,” said Schommer.

CrossFit Fergus Falls will implement programming and structure for the program.

Otter Tail County will provide Unity Wellness coaches, that are involved in the program, background information on each participant so that they get the best experience possible.

Unity Wellness coaches will keep participant information confidential.

An Otter Tail County probation officer will always be present and participating alongside participants of an one-hour class Mondays and Wednesdays, along with 15-30 minutes of group/reflection time.

This schedule will be reviewed quarterly to discuss any changes during the dates of contract: September 1, 2023- August 31, 2024.

The program will begin with six youths, according to Schommer, and will build up to 10-12 over the course of the year at a total approximate cost of $15,000.

“This is a program that can provide needed structure and there is obviously an exercise component to this and a nutritional component, as well, so I think there are a lot of advantages that it offers to at-risk youth, as well as the mentoring component,” said commissioner Kurt Mortenson. “Additionally, it is utilizing a current facility in the area, so it makes sense to move forward.”

The supervisory fund will be used to fund the new program being developed allowing there to be no cost to taxpayers.

“We’re trying to work more upstream, more in that intervention and prevention realm,” Schommer said.

Deputy Administrator Lynn Penke Valdes submitted a contract to hire Jason Anderson as an independent contractor to oversee, evaluate and form an advisory group for systems improvement in terms of service to all those who are on probation in Otter Tail County.

“He is formidable in terms of his experience, expertise and reputation in this area; he’s got a lifetime of experience working in corrections and in a multitude of different capacities,” said Valdes.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission met on Aug. 9 to assess three applications with two having public hearings.

Randy and Margaret Johnson were approved for a Conditional Use permit with conditions on approximately 765 cubic yards of land alteration for the construction of gravel surfaces, concrete surfaces and a 40×150 long building to provide rental storage at 45574 N. Little Pine Road in Perham.

A five-unit residential proposal on Lida View Lane in Pelican Rapids was tabled by Lida View Holdings, LLC, represented by owner Tom Strinden, to contemplate a redesign. The permit application included driveways, septic systems, a storage building, pickleball court and picnic shelter for private use.

The project received much public input prior to going to the commission, according to Land and Resource Management Director Chris LeClair.

Craig Schroeder’s (Stonybrook Properties LLP) request to construct 26 storage units along Highway, west of Fish Lake Beach Road was also tabled to de the applicant or representatives thereof not being present.

Final plat approvals were provided to Dolls Acres, one lot in Henning Township; Fisher Addition, two lots on Minnesota Highway 78 within 1,000-feet of Otter Tail Lake after having received MnDOT’s approval of the approach off of 78; Lizzie View Addition, three lots in Dunn Township.


The board approved an estimate of $647,294 for professional services regarding County Highway 50 improvements from County Highway 67 to 5th Street North in Deer Creek. The project also includes the replacement of the bridge over Rock Creek. 

One open house meeting is anticipated for the project, according to County Engineer Krysten Foster. The project will include County State Aid and local funding and is scheduled for construction in 2026.