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Blue Earth council reviews new courts

BLUE EARTH– Volleys were exchanged at the regularly scheduled Blue Earth City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 20. The council members once again discussed the construction of new tennis courts at Blue Earth Area High School.

After meeting with the Tennis Court Subcommittee, city administrator Mary Kennedy brought project updates to the council.

Regarding the proposed layout of the new courts, Kennedy explained, “For coaching and spectating reasons, a four-court layout was selected.”

The committee’s preferred layout will include dedicated spectator viewing between the courts, enabling the facility to be encircled by a 10-foot fence to block wind.

The Tennis Court Subcommittee and Kennedy also received a memorandum from Doug Green, director at Bakertilly Municipal Advisors, which offers municipal advisory services for local governments. Green outlined four options to fund the project.

The options include general obligation referendum bonds, general obligation abatement bonds, lease revenue bonds, and gross revenue recreation bonds.

$1 million is the estimated starting point of the project s total cost.

The city is working jointly with the Blue Earth Area School District to fund the courts.

“The city has entered into a cost-sharing agreement with the school district,” explained Kennedy.

Part of the arrangement involves the demolition of the current tennis court facility at Putnam Park, which falls under Blue Earth’s jurisdiction.

Council member Glenn Gaylord, who has historically had misgivings about the project, clashed with the council regarding methods of funding both projects.

Gaylord opposed mayor Rick Scholtes’ s suggestion to jointly bond the projects.

“We are talking about two different risk levels. One is not even our own project. I like the idea of bonding for it, but I wish it would be separate in some way, “ Gaylord said.

Scholtes objected to the extra cost which would be incurred by bonding the projects separately.

The council made no concrete decisions on Monday night, agreeing to mull the matter over for future discussion.

Other business discussed by the council on Sept. 20 included:

– Setting the preliminary budget for 2022. The council approved setting the total levy at $1,896,074.40, which falls in at 10 percent. The council members hope to whittle the levy down to three percent before it is certified on Dec. 20.

– An update regarding the Three Sisters project. Council member Ann Hanna inquired whether the project has received proper permitting. City attorney David Frundt shared it is possible the project has received a state permit, in which case the city is not involved with issuing permits.

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