Shell Rock River Watershed District Prepares Next Steps for Fountain Lake Restoration Project

The Shell Rock River Watershed District took steps recently to lay the groundwork for the 2014 Legislative Session. The District submitted the Fountain Lake Restoration Project to Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) to be considered for Governor Mark Dayton’s 2014 bonding bill. The District is asking for $7.5 million for the project.

“This is the first step in preparing for the 2014 Legislative Session,” said Brett Behnke, District Administrator. “MMB collects requests from local governments throughout Minnesota and prepares them for Governor Dayton’s consideration. 2014 is the regular bonding year, and the Governor’s bonding package is always the starting point.”

 “The community rallied behind our 2013 bonding request and their ongoing support is absolutely essential,” Behnke added. “The success of this project will create new economic opportunities through increased tourism and add to our quality of life.”

Local government bonding requests and state agency bonding requests were due to MMB on June 21, 2013. MMB will release all initial project proposals in mid-July. Governor Dayton will present his bonding proposal to the Legislature by January 15, 2014.

“The bonding process is extremely competitive,” said Behnke, “but with the good effort in 2013 and the support of the community, we hope 2014 will be the year.”

The Fountain Lake Restoration project is a high priority for the Watershed District, the city of Albert Lea, the Albert Lea Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Lakes Foundation, the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce and many other community groups.

Another recent development for the Shell Rock River Watershed District was the acceptance of their offer to purchase the front-9 of the old Country Club.  American Bank of St. Paul recently accepted the District’s offer of $290,000 for the property.  According to the District’s attorney, Matt Benda, “The District will now conduct its final review of the property.  A key component of making this deal work is to obtain cooperation from the City of Albert Lea to resolve some outstanding issues.  If everything goes as planned, the closing is scheduled to occur in mid-August.”

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007