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Douglas County Board Meeting May 21 2024

Posted: 05/22/2024

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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Douglas County Commissioners denied a request for a 300-person event facility in Orange Township. That decision was among the votes taken at the May 21 board meeting.

The application for the event facility outlined the goal of creating it for private music events, organizational gatherings, business meetings, weddings, reunions, and church gatherings. As with all such requests, it goes first to the Planning Advisory Commission. Members of that commission recommended denial based on five factors including: there is only one established way in and out of the location and the access road crosses a narrow area between Kuntz Lake and a wetland. The findings also determined the road did not meet code for fire apparatus access and the route would not protect the safety and welfare of those attending events at the proposed facility. The application did have information the applicant said shows there could be alternate ways in and out of the event property.

Land and Resource Management

Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush and Danielle Anderson, Water Planner with the Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District, presented the board with the Chippewa River Watershed Management Plan for review and approval. The Chippewa River Watershed is one of the largest watershed planning areas in Minnesota. It runs through the western half of Douglas County. Over the next ten years, the plan will address erosion and sediment, hydrology, nutrients, bacteria, groundwater, habitat and land management. The board unanimously approved the plan which now substitutes for the Douglas County local water management plan in the areas of the Chippewa River watershed.

Public Works

County Engineer and Public Works Director Tim Erickson was granted permission to solicit for bids  for the road reconstruction in Nelson which will run from County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 82 to Reed Ave.

He also updated commissioners on CSAH 8 saying reclaiming of asphalt began the week of May 21. The contractor on the project is Dennis Drewes, Inc. That project runs from I-94 to CSAH 40. Paving on CSAH 8 from I-94 to 7 is completed but, Erickson says, there is some touch-up work and striping left to do.

Commissioners approved the return of Trio Treats at Le Homme Dieu Beach. The owner said her first year of business was a bit of an eye opener. She said the beach is more, or less, crowded depending on how the wind is blowing. She’ll give it a try again this year and plans to open on Memorial Day Weekend. Trio Treats will sell prepackaged beverages, chips, candy and ice cream.


Vicki Doehling presented commissioners with a request by Ida Graves for a micro distillery cocktail room license. Doehling said it is her understanding the room will features cocktails made exclusively with Ida Graves organic spirits.

Social Services

Laurie Bonds asked for and received commissioners’ approval for a contract with Lakeland Mental Health Center for children’s therapeutic support services. 

County Board

Douglas County board meetings provide an opportunity for organizations to periodically share their good work.  West Central Initiative’s Director of Development Rebecca Lynn Petersen did just that at the May 21 meeting. She was accompanied by Jill Amundson, who’s job title is West Central Initiative Impact Evaluator. They shared what they called Douglas County’s return on investment through its work with West Central Initiative. Peterson detailed the hundreds of thousands of dollars reinvested in the county through community funds, loans, and grants, including those to local fire departments. They also talked about programs to increase participation in local elected offices, the Regional Development Organization and the good work of the Early Childhood Initiative. 

The next board meeting is June 4 at 9 a.m. in the Administration Building located at 821 Cedar Street in Alexandria.


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