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Pihls Park opening for seasonal crowd

BLUE EARTH — Faribault County commissioners have approved the opening of Pihls Park to seasonal campers.

“The [state] Department of Natural Resources issued some guidelines which would allow us to open Pihls Park to seasonal campers that currently have personal property in the park,” explained Public Works director Mark Daly.

The park is located just south of Interstate 90 in eastern Faribault County, south of Wells.

One requirement is the cleaning and disinfecting of public restrooms every day.

“Is it a requirement to open the restrooms?” asked Commissioner Bill Groskreutz.

Daly said he believes it is not.

“But I have heard some horror stories when the restrooms at parks are not open,” Daly noted.

Ann Giese, the campground host, did not see closing the restrooms as being problematic.

“I think the seasonal campers are responsible,” Giese said. “The permanent campers all have their own restrooms.”

Commissioner Greg Young asked County Attorney Kathryn Karjala if commissioners had the authority to open the campground.

“You have the authority to open it to seasonal campers,” she replied.

Commissioner Tom Loveall was not in favor of the opening.

“I am still opposed,” he said. “It creates two classes of people. Some can use it and some cannot. It is supposed to be a public campground and I think it should remain closed until the whole public can utilize it. I think it is bad policy on a local level.”

The vote to open the park passed, 3-2, with Loveall and Tom Warmka voting against.

The motion states the restrooms will be locked at this time. Seasonal campers will have to sign a waiver of liability releasing the county from any responsibility should any of them contract COVID-19.

Daly said the county would work to get the campground open as soon as possible.

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